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Chrysalis ‘Focus On The Center’ Album Review by Vincent Daemon

CHRYSALIS FOCUS ON THE CENTER Label: Available via iTunes Release Date: Out Now


CHRYSALIS is: Yessi Burton – Vocals, Studio Guitars, Keys Gabe Gallego – Guitars Gabe Julian – Guitars, Vocals Jared Sturgis – Bass Billy Norris – Drums


Southern California’s CHRYSALIS define themselves as “experimental metal,” and I suppose that is as good a way as any to label themselves. There is a wide variety of sounds and blending-of-subgenres here to keep it, if nothing else, interesting to listen to. It is definitely NOT for the casual/standard metal fan, but for those who *(musically at least – – – get to the vocals later) are a bit more advanced in their listening capabilities, or at the very least enjoy the subgenres that are melded throughout. *(I, for the most part, do not.)

CHRYSALIS definitely cover a wide array of genres, meshing them together almost flawlessly, in the particular and peculiar way this band does, even though some *(most) of the genres are not necessarily amongst my favorite. You’ll find bits of modern thrash, metalcore/screamo, nu-metal, math metal, classic prog-style/modern electro-noodling, and even some *(mostly) elements of modern Post-Hardcore, which is essentially where I would place them on the metal roadmap. *(Even though at one time POST-HARDCORE meant things like NAKED RAYGUN, HUSKER DU, DAG NASTY and FUGAZI – – – now somehow blended and mixed up and practically forgotten and reblended into, well, this – – – minus the ORIGINAL Post-Hardcore sound entirely, of corpse – – – you’ll find not a trace of influence from any of the above mentioned pioneers. Here’s the real mcguffin: Post-Hardcore today now essentially means Emo. Oi[!] vey.)  

And that is the album’s biggest downfall: the vocals. Musically it is at times almost fascinating, never really dull, but amazing in how they so seamlessly create these pieces that altogether may possibly create, dare I say it, the “C” word ( a    Concept Album). The aforementioned downfall comes in the weak, emo-esque vocals of frontman YESSI BURTON. He also did keys, of which that work is phenomenal, and the most interesting of small surprises on the album. Unfortunately his vocals come off like an (at times) trying-to-be-a-tough-guy cross between Geddy Lee, a surreal Jon Anderson *(who knows, maybe that’s how he came up with YESsie as his ‘rock-n-roll’ pseudonym, as I’m sure his birth certificate does not say ‘Yessie’), and that guy from Linkin Park, Chester M. Olester or whatever his last name is *(who cares). High-pitched, nasal-whiny, even in the almost ferocious closer “My Forsaken,” *(which I must admit I initially at first glance swore read as “My Foreskin” – – – a quick double take fixed that), where he attempts to apply an almost black metal-styled, vicious grit to the otherwise mostly crystal-clear and over-crisp vocals found on the rest of the album. Now, that may actually be a fault of the digitalized overproduction and *(at times all too obvious) autotuning. *(I miss the good old simplicities of Analogue recording, where TRUE sound was captured, as opposed to the smoothed out sheen of Digital Recording that really does seem to inadvertently remove any and all grit, doing so many bands a severe injustice to their actual sound – – – but such is technology.)

Not sure if I want to give them that kind of benefit of doubt though, as this is entirely too deliberately radio friendly to be otherwise. At only seven songs, the album started somewhat slow but builds to an interesting alt-rock/prog metal changeover, of sorts, around track four, “Ms. Me,” which I really kinda dug . . . until the emo-chorus popped up. It does however feature a neat little sample, taken from Alfred Hitchcock’s infamous promo-short for “Psycho.” My favorite track was the incredibly short and different instrumental “Tumbula, followed by the ever-so-slightly thrash-doom influenced “Saturn Walls, an almost incredible song with another misplaced and aggravating emo-chorus, but one hell of a mid-break.

I’d mostly recommend this for those who do enjoy the radio-friendly experimental stylings of bands like LINKIN PARK and the like. Not particularly my cup of tea, personally, *(ie: not at all), but I’ve very recently heard much, much worse. Hey, at least CHRYSALIS sound like they’re trying. And if “making the big time” is their intent (which is what I gathered from the PR), then this is a fairly good starting point, for what it is. You can order Focus On The Center via iTunes at this link.


3/14 – Barstow, CA @ The Maya

3/18 – Lancaster, CA @ El Sierra Bar & Grill

3/19 – Downey, CA @ The Epic Lounge

3/20 – San Diego, CA @ The Epicentre

3/21 – West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky a Go Go w/ Orgy (Orgy Album Release Show)

3/22 – Long Beach, CA @ Dipiazza’s

3/23 – Redlands, CA @ Katz Alley

3/24 – Fresno, CA @ Chinatown Youth Center (CYC)

3/26 – Sacramento, CA @ The Colony

3/27 – San Jose, CA @ The Rock Shop

3/28 – Portland, OR @ The Ash Street Saloon

3/30 – Spokane, WA @ The Pin

3/31 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon

4/3 – Fife, WA @ Louie G’s

4/5 – Eugene, OR @ Black Forest

4/25 – Pico Rivera, CA @ Summer Breakdown Festival, w/ Escape The Fate, Otep, & Ill Nino

5/1 – Henderson, NV @ Aerie Hall

5/2 – Scottsdale, AZ @ The Rogue Bar

5/3 – Flagstaff, AZ @ The Hive

5/5 – Albuquerque, NM @ Blue Phoenix (FKA The Compound 2)

5/6 – Amarillo, TX @ Yellow City Bomb Shelter

5/8 – Dallas, TX @ RBC

5/9 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory

5/11 – Lawrence, KS @ Fatso’s

5/13 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Flux Capacitor

5/14 – Denver, CO @ Seventh Circle Music Collective

5/16 – Chubbuck, ID @ The Green Triangle

5/17 – Boise, ID @ The Crux

Check out the video for “My Forsaken,” containing a “true-to-life exorcism” *(their words, not mine). “The concept *(dammit, it IS a Concept album – – – I could just tell!) for the video, directed by Alexander The Titan, was the brainchild of CHRYSALIS vocalist Yessi Burton himself. Exorcise your demons with Yessi here:

Vincent Daemon, writer and rabblerouser, can be followed on FB @ , and join his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind @ 

About vincentdaemon (109 Articles)
Writer of the weird and macabre; columnist for The Intestinal Fortitude; film and music critic and historian/buff; musician; visual artist; photographer; bibliophile/book collector; student of the bizarre, the occult, cryptozoology (and related topics); liver of life and the necessity of experience; loather of ignorance; seeker of knowledge; believer that we need to work together to achieve our common goals.

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