Review by Omni: Formed two decades ago in 1998, the Belgium’s own Chalice plays a distinctive variety of thrashy death metal that doesn’t try to fit in with trends or be overly retro. Ashes of Hope is the band’s second full-length album, coming five years after There Is Nothing.

The band is comprised of vocalist Pieter Dewulf, guitarists Nicolas Bruggeman and Tim Desmedt, bassist Chris Lagrange and drummer Niels Verbeke.

In comparison to the band’s previous album, this is still the same style that Chalice has delivered in the past, although I found that the songs were more thoughtfully arranged and they provoked more of an atmosphere than previous efforts by the band. Perhaps this is due in part to producer Tony de Block, who really helped the band deliver a tremendous studio sound that really plays to their strengths. Chalice delivers powerful, melodic riffs, hard drumming and ferocious vocals from the get-go. This band clearly means business! Every track is aggressive metal with an absolutely huge sound! “The Age of Fear” is my favorite track on the album, but “For You” also shows the band’s adventurous side and really demonstrates their versatility. I was very impressed.

It should be noted that Ashes of Hope was my introduction to Chalice, but it prompted me to go back and explore some of their older material as well. This is an impressive release from a relatively unheard of band. Chalice should be on everyone’s radar, because metalheads will surely enjoy this album. Recommended. Additional info at:  /

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)