After the ambitious 2012 EP Rising my expectations for Khaos and a full-length album were rather high. Maybe too high. Two years in the making, Khaos, featuring Chandler Mogel on vocals, Mark Rossi on guitar, Nic Angileri on bass and Trevor Franklin on drums, delivers Risen, another platter of modern hard rock built upon the foundation of classic rock.
I'll admit from the start, after several listens, I'm still ambivalent about this album. It never seemed to get started, never really drew me in. After The Silence is a drag of a song to begin an album with. The following Crisis Factor wasn't much better. Heavy and thumping. Exalted follows, a ballad of sorts, anthem maybe, taking Khaos back to their AOR melodic rock roots. It's mostly a showcase for Mogel's vocal skills, which are phenomenal across this album. He's likely the band's greatest strength, making even the most boring song sound believable. It's like casting Robert DeNiro or Robert Duvall in a mediocre movie as their presence lifts the caliber of the film.
Suffice to say I found my listening experience ranging from trying to difficult, with some songs being better than others, but most simply not getting my attention. For instance Ride The Chain, Imagined Danger, and Static Windows have some groove, some metal edge, and some hint of rock energy, but never rise to it. They seem to get bogged down in the riffage, moving slow like feet walking through mud. Alternatively, like Exalted, As Far As We Go, another ballad, moves smoothly, rising upon the vocal arrangements. But that takes us back to that aforementioned point. Chandler Mogul makes that song sound terrific. He carries this album, despite the average songs. Again, I guess I expected more, or perhaps something different. Perhaps more catchy hook-laden melodic rock, rather than heavy and sharp modern rock. I'm not sure, and therefore my ambivalence remains.
For me, I'm ambivalent about Risen. It's not a bad album, just one that never seemed to get started, get off the ground, or grab my interest.
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