Music Trends

Review: CHRYSALIS’ Focus On The Center

Some may call them “veterans” of the Southern California rock and metal scene, while others may only just be discovering experimental hard rock group CHRYSALIS, who are back and ready- after a brief hiatus- to release their first musical offering in almost seven years. With a vocal sound somewhat reminiscent of Coheed and Cambria in spots and then turning into more of the fare that younger Warped metal genre fans may appreciate, it’s almost impossible to truly pinpoint Chrysalis.

From the opening notes of “Sounds on the Playground” its pretty clear that there will be a representation various genres here. Electronica, metal, rock, and in all of their various sub-genres, the band has a knack for combining these sounds in a pleasant way rather than a hodge podge cauldron of crap. “Thoughts Behind” is not as strong as the opener, but shows potential. “Instant Silence”, was released on December 21st to commemorate the one year anniversary of Jeff Davis’ passing (the former singer of Lindbergh Skies, who died of an overdose while Focus On The Center was being recorded. The band felt it essential to honor Jeff, as he was not only a close friend, but worked with Jesse to develop some of the vocals. From here the tunes go right back to brutality and soft touch with “Ms. Me”, showing the duality and dichotomy that the band often seems to pursue on their efforts. “Tumbula” is a instrumental that will definitely get the blood pumping leading into “Saturn Waits” that is a bit more trippy due to the vocal effects, but is no less heavy hitting, and is an extremely solid tune that’s a bit less of the formulaic teen metal tinge that sometimes creeps into the Chrysalis sound. “My Forsaken” wraps up the LP leading off with non clean vocals that is a nice contrast to some of the other songs and shows even more versatility. Bottom line is that Chrysalis show great promise as well as veteran capability here. Focus On The Center is a soundscape of brutal imagery and butchering guitar lines caressed by beautiful vocals and pounding rhythms that leave you breathless but diving in for more.

CHRYSALIS formed in Barstow, CA in 2003, with a current line-up of Jesse Elledge (vocals/guitar), Billy Norris (drums), Jared Sturgis (bass), Noel Castillo (keyboards), and Chris Norris (guitar). In 2006, CHRYSALISreleased a full-length, self-titled symphonic metal influenced album at the height of the emo and post-hardcore scene. The 2006 release not only charted as one of the top all time sellers in the Gothic Metal genre on CDbaby, but also found a rabid foreign audience as streams in Europe steadily increased.
This notoriety landed the band endorsement deals with Ed Stone Rockwear (once touted by Trivium, Lamb of God, etc.), Soultone Cymbals, and a licensing deal with Audiosocket Music. Carving out a niche following due to persistence and touring, CHRYSALIS eventually transcended the trends of their local scene and spread their music beyond Southern California.

In addition to heightened sales, CHRYSALIS earned a spot on the Vans Warped Tour in2009. Following the tour, the band shared the stage with the likes of Agent Orange, TSOL, A Day to Remember, Powerman 5000, Fear Before, Heavy Heavy Low Low, and The Apex Theory.

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