Grocki: Chaos Theory

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Grocki: Chaos Theory
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Grocki: Chaos Theory
Progressive Metal
Self-release
October 22nd, 2011
Release length: 38:06
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If you’ve never heard of the multi-instrumentalist Mark Grocki before, don’t feel too bad unless you live in his neck of the woods in the state of Connecticut. Instead of channelling his guitar skills towards a full fledged band, Mark has gone the route of whipping up a solo Progressive Metal act known simply as Grocki. This entity formed back in 2011, and that very year released its debut full-length album, Chaos Theory, a six song experience of classic shredding and clear inspirations from noted guitar virtuosos. But, is this enough to make this instrumental premiere an experience worth having, or is it just more cannon fodder for the style?

“Vendetta” kicks the album off and introduces you to a rich sounding Progressive Metal performance. The song’s upbeat faster paces find plenty of catchy hooks entwined in a song that simply refuses to stop from the moment it kicks in. The technical guitar work doesn’t go over-the-top, being restrained enough to keep the pace alive the entire near seven minute performance, though things do get a bit more intricate about half way through, building to an impressive solo before slowing the pace down briefly once more. While a bit on the lighter side, the rich distortion on the guitar paired with crisp drumming and moderately deepened bass riffs give the performance a strong enough bite to make you anxious to hear the rest of the album, or just hit the previous track button to run through this one again.

“A Twist of Fate” is a stark contrast to “Vendetta,” throwing thick, deeper riffs at the listener without mercy. While the technical solos are just as impressive, the richer, more aggressive drum presence and Thrash-heavy riffs lead to some authority fuelled assaults similar to bands like Annihilator, making you bang your head along instinctively to the infectious rhythm. The most impressive bit isn’t until the end, however, hooking you with some well placed haunting Kreator-esque melodies to wrap things up with. Meanwhile “Coma (Awake in a Dream)” is a much slower offering, taking on more of an atmospheric Progressive Metal outing without the vivid landscapes. The performance ends up more down to earth compared to the likes of Joe Satriani, and while some of the technical riffs are impressive, the final product feels like its lacking something at times, as if it wants to tread into Space Rock territory, but shying away from the line that separates the two for some reason.

Sadly, “Coma (Awake in the a Dream)” isn’t the only song that feels like something is missing. The title track “Chaos Theory” ushers in some deeper riffs that take on more of an edgier Hard Rock approach at times. It isn’t as impressive as the more technical and lighter pitched guitar work that comes a little later, and it also lets the cymbal heavy sections highlight a hint of washout you may not have noticed otherwise. Thankfully this is the only time you’ll really take notice of this issue.

For a man who hasn’t been in the spotlight very long, Chaos Theory is a really impressive solo Progressive Metal album. With rich songs that vary between aggressive and grand, Grocki wastes no time to offer superb guitar solos and tight drumming that make each track sound as natural and fluid as the end product from a long running Metal band with a full roster. While the title track doesn’t hit as hard as you would hope, the other five show great dexterity in Mark Grocki’s song writing abilities, even treading into Thrash and Heavy Metal realms without losing his own signature sound. One spin with Chaos Theory and you immediately are put on notice that Grocki is a name you need to remember.

01. Vendetta – 6:53
02. Chaos Theory – 6:18
03. A Twist of Fate – 7:55
04. Ascension – 5:27
05. Coma (Awake in a Dream) – 5:21
06. Retribution – 6:12
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Grocki

Digital review copy of this release provided by Grocki.