Poverty's No Crime - The Chemical Chaos

Year of Release: 2003
Label: InsideOut Music America
Catalog Number: IOMACD 2069
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:39:00

I've been a fan of Poverty's No Crime since their debut release Symbiosis so many moons ago. Since then, many changes have taken place, including being signed to Inside Out Records, changing music styles (to a degree), lineup changes, etc ?.but one aspect has remained throughout: Volker Walseman. He has been the guitarist, voice and songwriter for the band throughout the ages. The band has changed styles throughout the years as well, starting off as a hopeful, budding progressive metal band akin to what Mayadome was doing back then, but has pretty much dropped that progressive style and has now adopted a more straight forward, accessible style instead. The unmistakable sound of Poverty's No Crime has miraculously been retained throughout the years, but they seem to be leaving that progressive style behind them.

On The Chemical Chaos, the theme is more song-oriented this time around, with an emphasis on the vocal aspect. The band is still guitar driven by Volker and company, including the ever-present synth / techno keyboards which virtually make up their sound. This time though, the band throws a few curve balls to the listener. The opening song, "Walk Into Nowhere," gives us a false inkling of where the rest of the disc lies. Coming in as a typical, straight forward, simplistic and weak opening, the band then gravitates to song #3, "All Minds in One", which is what our beloved PoC has meant to us all of these years. This is what we've come to know them by -- epic, dramatic, quiet passages leading to climax, dramatic vocals, and an emotional ending. Why the band chooses this format is confusing. Fans have been waiting for many years for PoC to write the monster disc that is in them, yet they continually throw filler songs in between the killers. The Chemical Chaos is no exception, although there are many more killer songs than filler this time out.

Volker Walseman has always been the "poor man's Damien Wilson" and I use that term figuratively, of course. What I mean is that his voice has always reminded me of a mid-ranged Damian Wilson, with the same presentation and tonal qualities as Damian minus the high pitch. This is quite the compliment. Volker seems much more passionate here than on previous outings -- choosing to let his voice be heard instead of the music overpowering him as it has before. Maybe the compromise has been that this time out he has chosen to make his voice heard, yet at the risk of toning it down a bit and becoming more accessible?

My only problem with Poverty's No Crime has always been in the production dept. While each and every disc does sound better sonically, the band carries one of the driest productions I've heard in a progressive metal band. Of note, the drums are quiet, dry like cardboard, and carry no weight in the music. I believe that the guitars carry the heavy sound, and the music is held back quite a bit because of this. The rest of the sound is recorded very raw and dry, and the energy seems to be lacking because of this. Songs like "Terminal Trip," where the intro could sound very huge, yet sound a little washed out and "small." The band definitely needs a boost in energy to make these songs come alive, and I believe that it lies in the raw production.

One cannot deny the talent of this band. Having been around for the better part of ten years, and putting out quality disc after disc is no small feat, especially by today's standards of progressive metal. For me personally, The Autumn Years remains my favorite, with its fine diet of progressive writings and creativity nothing has come close since. Slave To The Mind was more on the powerful side, but then the band started slipping backwards into simplicity and seems to have the energy somewhere along the way. Pick up any Poverty's No Crime disc, and you certainly won't be disappointed. I'll be buying PoC discs until they stop releasing, but I'm hoping that the monster disc is still inside Volker somewhere, and is just dying to come out after all these years. When that happens, I believe that Poverty's No Crime will have its day. Until then, we can't argue with the quality that keeps pouring out of the band, even if it's not that monster.

Released in Europe by SPV / InsideOut (SPV 085-60452-CD / IOMCD 143)

Walk Into Nowhere (6:33) / Every Kind Of Life (6:15) / All Minds In One (6:37) / A World Without Me (5:26) / Terminal Trip (6:53) / Pact With The Past (8:58) / Left To Chance (4:43) / Moving Target (6:16) / Do What You Feel (7:17) / Bonus Track: Access Denied (unplugged version) (4:41)

Marco Ahrens - guitars
Jörg Springub - keyboards
Volker Walsemann - vocals, guitars
Heiko Spaarmann - bass
Andreas 'Theo' Tegeler - drums

Symbiosis (1995)
Autumn Years (1996)
Slave To The Mind (1999)
One In A Million (2001)
The Chemical Chaos (2003)
Save My Soul (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: May 2nd 2004
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.povertys-no-crime.de
Hits: 1082
Language: english


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