Originally published on yourlastrites.com in October 2005. Written by Erik Thomas.
I hate to bring the metal throes of this website to a screeching halt, but this odd little album found its way into my stack and review it I must. Is it metal? Debatable. Should it be reviewed here? Arguable. Do I enjoy it? Somewhat. Is this one of the oddest and hardest albums I’ve ever had to review? You fucking bet.
The only vogue point of reference I can throw out here to at least try and give you some idea as to Chromelodeon’s odd sound is an instrumental Estradasphere, maybe mixed with the The Doors, The Mass and Nintendo game music. Heart of Sawdust is composed of six unnamed movements that flow into each other in one undulating, accordion based, synth pop, orchestral combo that’s sure to please users of illicit substances. At times it comes across like a 70s B movie horror soundtrack with guitars and an accordion. Obviously with such a quirky style and delivery, Heart of Sawdust isn’t an album of songs or moments, but more of an atmospheric trip into psychedelia and a kaleidoscope of swirling sounds that confound confuse and sometimes amuse.
Admittedly the first two ‘songs’ did little for me, with the second song serving as a sort of instrumental rock opera type track, but the dramatic third movement is an eerie, spooky sort of track that would seem to fit the Phantasm movies. The accordion, while normally associated to upbeat, folky bands like Finntroll, is used as a haunting off key backdrop to the guitars and brass instruments. The fourth movement is an ‘epic’ wailing guitar solo backed by the cacophony of instrumentation while the fifth act is a more metal upbeat, cosmic sort of number that showed some chops amid the plethora of oddball instrumental antics. The closing track shows that Chromelodeon can structure an instrumental album with the correct pacing as it is a fittingly “closure” sounding track.
If it seems like I’m flailing like a blindfolded kid at a review piñata, it’s ‘cos I am. Few albums have left me verbally challenged as this, but at the same time, in an era on metalcore plagues and death metal staleness, Chromelodeon comes as an oddly refreshing change, though not an outfit I will seek out voluntarily.
Only recommended for the most opened minded, non blinkered, challenge loving or flat out fucking wasted or high listeners.