Chaos Code - A Tapestry of Afterthoughts. 1999 USA
Baltimore based Chaos Code's debut is a most intriguing work. It's somewhat inconsistent, and the album does sound like various recordings - even though it appears the personnel remained the same throughout. Very much in line with other late 90s and early 00's prog rock, the album walks the tightrope between retro 70s and more contemporary modern prog. Opener 'The Cave' is a perfect example, coming across as "very American" with radio snippets and social commentary (a bit like The Muffins in that way). The music always seems on the brink of something fantastic, only to see 8 and a half minutes slip away without notice. 'Heights of Time' is Chaos Code clearly trying for an Echolyn type sound - once again pointing to their own era. So at the point where it seems the album is inessential, out comes 'Antiodote to Entropy', which channels early Genesis at its finest. 'A Silent Scream' does similar, whereas closer 'The Devil's Trombone' demonstrates that Chaos Code could have been a larger name in the retro prog sweepstakes, doing a fine rendition of the type of sound the Scandinavians are more famous for (Anglagard, Wobbler, et al..). 'Gravy Fries' is a fun instrumental diversion but not going to move the needle. So for me, the track that was going to determine whether or not this would be a 3.5 or 4 star album is 'Days of Reflection'. And I fear to say there's just not enough meat on the bone. There's a 5 minute track hiding in a 10 minute blanket here, and that's too much downtime. Still, it's an album that has held up well in retrospect. I bought this near the time of release and recalled little about it. Coming up on 20 years later, it proved my initial assessment was right. It's a keeper and better than most from this era of progressive rock music.