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Chaos Code - Propaganda CD (album) cover


Chaos Code


Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 35 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Propaganda" Are power structures like government, religion, and corporations selling the lies that might eventually tank the human race? And as the complacent masses are we complicit in our demise? That might be one take on the concepts laid out in the hugely ambitious 3rd release by Chaos Code, one of the most exciting prog band currently in the States. Will we wake up in time?

Chaos Code's first two albums are so impressive that I figured the 3rd would either be a letdown or a sellout. Wrong on both counts. CC has raised the stakes across the board and "Propaganda" seems to be an attempt to reach a wider audience and really freak them out. Or as I said, at least WAKE US UP! Well guys, I'm listening!

Cliff Phelps is back leading Pat Gaffney and Gary Curtis, a powerful disciplined rhythm section for Phelps to lay his ominous riffs over. The keys have been somewhat dropped for a new presence here, Barry Caudill's sax which takes a very active lead role in many places throughout and sometimes reminds me of Supertramp's "Brother Where You Bound" sound. If you love the saxophone this is going to be your favorite CC album. The production and overall sound are much more big league on this release, and the playing seems to get more interesting all the time. The material is darker and harder edged making Propaganda something of interest to the Prog-Metal fans here though it certainly isn't metal. Cliff's vocals are much more confident, prominent, and prevalent. He also gets some harmony help on this one from Jose Silva.

Phelp's again writes nearly all of the material and returns with his beautiful one moment/ferocious the next moment electric guitar on most tracks. Sax, synth, and flute all add to a wide array of different soundscapes which patiently lead us through this story.

Viewing the cover only one might think it silly to show ants attacking a big city. But when the insert is unfolded to all 3 panes, there is an extremely clever series of photos and paintings which help shed light on the themes. And they are provocative as mentioned by Dieter.

So where to start with Chaos Code? Anywhere. I would say if you like dreamier more Floydian landscapes with more solos start with the first album and go forward. If you like more constructed songs with vocals, a harder edge, brass, and more animated drumming, start with this one and work backwards. If you like symphonic start with 1, if you like prog-metal start with 3. If you're still not sure, start with 2 which is my favorite.

After being knocked out by their 3 releases I can't wait to hear where this band goes from here. If you like your rock and roll to explore futuristic concepts and take you for a ride that is never boring you need to check this out. I wish I could find the words to give a more accurate picture of the feelings evoked by their music but it's not easy. All I know is I have that same incredible feeling I had when I discovered Hemispheres or Animals as a teenager. I haven't found music quite like this since.

If you still need convincing you can find many samples from all 3 releases at and there find out where to pick up their cds. You will also see their neat intro with great quotes about propaganda.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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