It’s USBM time again, and this one is fast and hard. At full speed, Palice Chalice can sound a lot like early Enslaved, as with the opening of “Shaking Nerves and Vacuous Spheres.” With their new album, Negate the Infinite and Miraculous, the group rises from the vile depths of unlikely Oshkosh, Wisconsin to prove that even places with funny names can slit your throat from galloping horseback.
The changing pace and drumming styles, as on “Bound by Intransigent Flight,” (how dare they call me intransigent) are spellbinding. Attempts to utilize the album as background music at work proved a failed experiment. It’s just too gosh darn engaging. The hooks are plentiful while the harsh vocals grip so uncompromisingly with shrieks that channel the legendary Ihsahn himself.
The guitar melodies have that harsh-yet sorrowful quality that many black metal groups aspire to but rarely capture. Comparisons to Taake are appropriate, though Pale Chalice is both less experimental and more modern-sounding. Compositions utilize excellent dynamics and progression to build to fiery finales. “Fragile Bones Cradling Tallow” is a prime example with its sudden breaks of lonely guitar leads and blasts of maniacal drum and tremolo fury.
This was one of those albums that caught my attention right from the beginning. That moment where you’re scanning through the typical mediocre weeklies only to stop dead in your tracks. The able songwriting, the energetic transitions, and just that extra indescribable “oomph” led me back to the bandcamp page numerous times both before and after I decided to contact the label. My mind was made up that this would be mine no matter what, be it by promo or a measly $5 bill. Do the right thing and make it yours as well.