Caterina Nix is a Chilean singer who is slowly but surely affirming herself on the metal stage, both individually as well as with her band, CHAOS MAGIC. “Emerge” marks the group’s third full-length studio album since their formation in 2015 and offers a variety of symphonic metal soundscapes. The follow-up to the well-received “Furyborn” (2019) is set for a June 17th, 2022, release via Frontiers Music.
In the last decade or so, bands like WITHIN TEMPTATION, NIGHTWISH, and DELAIN have pushed the boundaries of symphonic metal by simplifying/changing this sound and in doing so, they made the genre much more flexible and, therefore, more inclusive. This is perhaps the reason why, nowadays, bands that don’t necessarily incorporate operatic vocals or big orchestral arrangements in their music can still fall under the symphonic metal umbrella without raising many questions about their sound. One such band is CHAOS MAGIC, whose brand of metal is equal parts symphonic metal and modern/melodic metal with splashes of AOR for a more radio-friendly feel.
The eleven tracks on this album are each interesting and exciting in their own right, though taken together they feel a bit safe, standardized, and, ultimately, formulaic. But then again, that is how the majority of the songs in any given genre are created, the wow factor being the way everything is put together and delivered. As such, the album does have a number of selling points going for it. Opener “Emerge” has a big chorus and powerful guitar lines that flesh out the song better while some symphonic elements play in the background. With Elina Siirala (LEAVES’ EYES, ANGEL NATION) on guest vocals and Mistheria providing the piano lines, album highlight “Garden of Winter” is a beautiful and delicate affair, where the vocals of the two singers play off of each other with ease while the hefty guitars and drums make the track feel more robust and heavy. However, Siirala’s sparse operatic vocals elevate the song and make it a real symphonic metal delight.
The AOR-infused “In The Depth of Night” is a melodic and airy number with another lofty chorus and great grooves while “The Impossible” is a pop-metal anthem that combines trance-like synth with a prog metal approach. On the heavier side of the spectrum, “Days of Lions” and “Hearts Gone Dark” impress with heavy guitar riffs, thunderous drums, and resonant vocals. These tracks showcase not just how varied the album is but the array of different influences that CHAOS MAGIC can blend together. In between all these diverse stylistic choices, it is Caterina Nix’s gorgeous voice that ties everything together and gives the album a cohesive feel. Her versatility as a vocalist is on display here, the vocals ranging from soft and delicate (“Victims of our Heaven”) to powerful and expressive (“Beneath Your Skin”) all the way to melodious and enticing (“What’s Your Fuel”).
Caterina Nix’s songwriting partnership with fellow Chilean musician and producer Nasson has yielded another great album in “Emerge” and a step forward for CHAOS MAGIC in their quest for a breakthrough on the scene. Whether this is the album that pushes them more squarely into the limelight remains to be seen, but the truth of the matter is that “Emerge” delivers many pop-tinged anthems and memorable moments, being quite enjoyable from start to finish. Those looking for something on the melodic side of the spectrum should look no further than this album.
Written by Andrea Crow
Beneath Your Skin
Garden Of Winter (Feat. Elina Siirala)
Hearts Gone Dark
Beyond The Silence
Days Of Lions
In The Depth Of The Night
Victims Of Our Heaven
When If Not Today
What’s Your Fuel
Caterina Nix – Vocals
Nasson – Bass, Vocals
Mario Torres – Guitar
Mistheria – Keyboard
Carlos Hernandez – Drums
Elina Siirala – Vocals on “Garden Of Winter”
Mistheria – Piano on “Garden Of Winter”