Review by Stefan: A band from Norway is usually linked to the Black Metal genre but Chontaraz (named by the vocalist himself) proves the reverse. If I can believe the info sheet they are from a city called Hell, really? To find out the real truth, I start cruising down the Internet and came to the conclusion that Hell town really exist ! Miracles are apparently not yet out of the world. Well, both band and their debut album “Rondamauh” come like a thief in the night to me, their mission is to deliver to deliver Epic and Modern Heavy Metal mainly, as well as Chontaraz brings some traditional stuff mixed with elements out of Progressive Metal, dark and groovy with a nod to the Industrial scene.
Take a little tad of Norwegian Black Metal esque-aggression (Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir, Borknagar), the groovy character of Rammstein spiced with epic anthems used to know from bands like Gloryhammer, Sabaton, Dragonland,… you’re not far removed from the alley of Chontaraz. Vocally wise, Mr. Chontaraz is quite unique as his throat sounds so called unkind/crabbed at certain moments, he is also able to offer his voice in an ordinary, clear and melodic…let’s say strong way. The combination of all the singing efforts leads me to a pleasant surprise !
Also the song structures reach a level far above the average, strong and tight compositions with powerful riffs and a decent load of melodic leads… drums and bass are well-matched. This is a puzzle where the pieces click neatly into each other, although I should mention that there are no real highlights on the CD and maybe that sounds disrespectful but it’s certainly not ! The contemporary, modern type of Metal movement is not exactly my way of music. An example: I don’t like Rammstein and I don’t like Sabaton either, and I’m NOT into Black Metal at all… which is pure personal!
Watching a picture of Chontaraz, they look like Rammstein/Dimmu Borgir… post-apocalyptic dressed you know. Listening to the band’s debut album “Rondamauh”, I witness good musicians able to maintain a proper set of good structured songs but the present-day feel bored me at certain times. That’s the only way to explain what I feel about Chontaraz, well-trained soldiers delivering good skills, unfortunately their modern sound is a bridge too far for me. My passion for old school Metal goes endlessly far which is the only reason why I conclude with a moderate feeling.
Released via Target/Mighty Music Records, Chontaraz’s “Rondamauh” was produced by legendary Daniel Bergstrand (Evergrey, Dimmu Borgir, Dark Funeral, Soiilwork, In Flames, Darkane and tons of others) no doubt about, the sound quality is upper mighty ! A band probably unknown for you at the moment but that will soon change after purchasing your own copy as a proud fan of Modern Metal music principally. Check ‘m out at: www.facebook.com/chontaraz and judge for yourself.
FYI – 2017 will see the band touring and playing European festivals. Fisrt confirmed feast on Metal is at the majestic Metal Days in Slovenia, Thursday 27th. July as Chontaraz will walk the second stage. More bands will play during the festival are: Opeth, Amon Amarth, Venom, Katatonia and many, many more !
My rating: 82/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)