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Chaos Code

Symphonic Prog

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Chaos Code A Tapestry Of Afterthoughts album cover
3.94 | 40 ratings | 9 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Cave (8:22)
2. Heights Of Time (5:32)
3. Antidote To Entropy (8:26)
4. Days Of Reflection (10:04)
5. A Silent Scream (8:25)
6. Gravy Fries (3:32)
7. The Devil's Trombone (10:40)

Total Time: 55:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Cliff Phelps / guitar, flute, alto sax, keyboards, lead & backing vocals
- Marty Aletta / keyboards, Rhodes e-piano, Chapman stick
- Philip Rous / bass, acoustic guitar, guitar synth, keyboards
- Daniel Squillaro / drums, percussion

- Jamie Ignozzi / tenor sax (6)
- Dawn Heather / harmony vocals (7)

Releases information

CD self-released (1999, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CHAOS CODE A Tapestry Of Afterthoughts ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CHAOS CODE A Tapestry Of Afterthoughts reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
4 stars A rather new band playing a fantastic kinda vintage prog with lots of the good ol' analog keyboards like mellotron and so on. But one moment don't stop reading because you think this is just another one of this Neoprog type Genesis-clone bands. Definitively NOT, I even would not call CHAOS CODE a derivative band at all, although there are obvious influences of the 70's era of course. Apart of the mentioned one, CRIMSON and VDGG come to one's mind, as well mainly due to the rather dark mood a little bit similarity with newer Scandinavian ones like ANEKDOTEN and SINKADUS.

The first song alone is already worth the money for this album, it's starting rather quietly using soft keyboards and slow percussion, then tempo is raised to a more vivid section with a guitar solo and thereafter a vocal part with acoustic guitar is leading to a part with sound from the stock exchange accompanied by a type of funeral music. Nice combination! Capitalism as the grave for human civilization?? After this there is a soft keyboard theme leading into a more guitar-driven part. I won't go through all the songs in detail, but you can believe me, the rest of the album is of the same quality. Finest Prog in 70's style, well balanced between soft lyrical and heavy rocking parts. Musicianship is excellent with great guitar riffing, nice flute, piano or keyboards and fantastic sax playing. Guitarist Cliff Phelps has got quite a good voice, rather unique and it might appear a bit unusual in the beginning. Due to the poor production vocals are sounding at times a bit flat and too much in the background but this is fitting in some way quite well to the rather depressing mood. Taking into account that it's been produced on their own, it has still a rather good sound. Imagine what could have come out of this brilliant album with a professional production.

Anyway if original good "handmade" progressive rock combined with excellent musicianship is for you more important than an impressing synthetic sound done with technical perfection then you should definitively check out this band. It's a real hidden gem! 4 well deserved stars for it!

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Chaos Code's debut is a feast of heavy rock with elements of Neo, Symph, and Metal "riff" rock all rolled up in a tasty tale of man's path towards one scary future. The cover art nicely sums up the apocolyptic tale at hand. I'm no expert at deciphering lyrics and I don't want to put words in the bands mouth, but I concur with another reviewer that this appears to be a tale of the disaster that Capitalist greed and ill-employed technology are leading us towards. And the emptiness of lives bestowed by the consumer culture and the tragic effect on our planet. Grim stuff, but the music doesn't wallow in sadness. It lurks there for a while but does rise to give us hope and joy also.

The real prize here is some great rock guitar that builds ominous riffs into explosive bursts of solos that are not just a million notes of flash, but meaningful and emotional. Cliff Phelps *gets* that sometimes less is more when it comes to soloing, that guitar playing does not have to be akin to "extreme sports" to be powerful. The bass playing is solid and the keys good, and there are wonderful passages of flute and other embellishments. But the guitar work of Phelps delivers the goods, just killer stuff. This is the kind of guitar work that just makes you close your eyes and fly with the song, hard to describe, but without a doubt the most conversational and interesting I've heard in ages. Gorgeous. Bravo Cliff!

There are a few problems. The drums are strangely tentative to me. Perhaps they are just "controlled" but sometimes I think the drummer could tear it up a little more than he does. But this is a minor complaint. Luckily this can't bring down the rest of the band though, they swing for the fence anyway. The vocals are not overly dramatic like so many singers nowadays, but rather restrained. And the production. While I like the sensible low-key production here it may sound weird to people used to the slick over-produced albums by the majors. I have the feeling the release was low budget and it's a compliment to the men involved that they pulled off such a monster debut.

I hate to compare Chaos Code to other bands because they are actually unique. If you like great guitar, dark Sci-Fi concepts, and a grand feel kind of like a Phideaux album you might try this. Get it before it vanishes!

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars After reading how excited fellow reviewer Finnforest was about this band I thought I better listen to their debut that I just hadn't gotten around to yet. The cover art does depict a future apocolyptic planet earth and there are serious lyrics about how we as individuals need to stop and think about the future of our planet and our lives. The title of this record does have some meaning in that regard. The music itself absolutely blew my mind ! We all have our favourite bands and it's so cool to find a new band who pushes all the right buttons for us. Well it's like this band knew my every musical desire and then recorded it. Thankyou CHAOS CODE !

The record starts with "The Cave" which is a song about people who live their lives indoors watching TV and not even bothering to answer their phone. And although on the surface the lyrics can be amusing they are dead serious about this problem. The song starts off mellow enough with keys, acoustic guitar and drums. Then some aggressive guitar comes in. I love the tone of his guitar. Vocals come in with acoustic guitar and mellotron. Nice. The soundscape is so beautiful after 6 minutes. "Heights Of Time" is about the dishonour of destroying our past and history just for something new and mass produced. The vocals here are unique sounding almost like the singer for the German band NOEKK, but not quite.The guitar and vocals are very passionate 4 minutes in. Good tune. "Antidote To Entropy" is an amazing instrumental. The flute, keys and mellotron are great ! The guitar comes in (again I love the tone, did I mention that ?). Some odd metered drumming and it's awesome ! We are treated to some organ, and angular guitar melodies. It then gets very pastoral and beautiful with flute before some amazing guitar comes in and the song ends with more angular guitar melodies. Nice.

"Days Of Reflection" has some great lyrics. Gentle flute to open and light drums and i'm thinking of SINKADUS right about now. Waves of mellotron come in as vocals do too 3 minutes in.This is so uplifting ! The melody gets intense with organ and drums before becoming mellow again with acoustic guitar, flute and vocals. "A Silent Scream" features dark lyrics and opens with acoustic guitar, flute and vocals. The guitar to follow almost soars as drums and passionate vocals follow. More great guitar and check out the melody 6 minutes in ! It's Heaven, there are no words. "Gravy Fries" is another instrumental. Sax leads the way with odd metered drumming and unique guitar melodies.This is a reserved but killer track. "The Devil's Trombone" is the final and longest song on the record. This has a dark Rio feel to it. The mellotron and sinister guitar sounds are incredible ! The drumming is fantastic too. Mood and tempo changes are drastic. Angular guitar melodies and some eerie female background vocals along with the FLOYD-like lyrics bring a haunting end to a ride that i'll never forget.

A ride called CHAOS CODE.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I really donīt know why this band is not labeled as neo prog on this site. Here are the emotional guitar solos a la Steve Rothery, the emotional vocals and the Genesis-like acoustic guitar. But, since neo prog to me is Symphonic rock with more guitar and less pomp, I guess it is alright. This american group is quite good and their debut shows a very strong start. Besides the aforementioned elements they also include some King Crimson parts (listen to the sax, flute and the odd guitar bits) plus a little heavy metal riffs here and there.

After repeated listenings I found that this work shows great promise, no doubt about it. However the mix is still raw as far as I can see. The guys are excellent musicians and their songwriting abilities are above average, but not totally mature: some songs sound too neo prog and others too King Crimson, giving the impression of hearing two different bands playing in one CD most of the time. I donīt mean to be harsh on them. Everybody needs some time to find their own sound and I guess those guys are well on the right way. Besides, Cliff Phelps has an interesting and unique voice that is a little aquired taste, but good anyway. Great production too.

A Tapestry Of Afterthoughts is a bit uneven. It took me quite some time to really enjoy it. But I think it will please most progheads, specially the neo and KC fans. It got me really curious about their follow ups. Iīm looking forward to hear them.

Review by seventhsojourn
4 stars The songs on A Tapestry Of Afterthoughts (1999) are concerned with themes such as capitalism, technology, modern life and globalisation. In this respect the album has something in common with Radiohead's ''OK Computer'' from a couple of years earlier, although this was probably just a general sign of the times towards the close of the last millennium. Chaos Code's debut is one of those criminally overlooked gems that are always a thrill to discover. Across the board this is a great collection of tracks with DAYS OF REFLECTION being my particular pick of a fine bunch.

Restrained balladry sits happily alongside hard-edged effects-laden guitar work on the likes of A SILENT SCREAM, while soaring flute melodies and Mellotron crescendos struggle with fuzzed-out metal guitar riffs on ANTIDOTE TO ENTROPY. OK, so there's nothing really groundbreaking here and the album culminates with two tracks that seem to borrow heavily from King Crimson. In particular, the ominous Mellotron-brass on THE DEVIL'S TROMBONE is undoubtedly a nod to The Devil's Triangle, while Cliff Phelps' voice is not unlike John Wetton's. Although it's not the most original of albums, I can easily give this one 4-stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars If you are looking for some "Genesis" sounds, this band delivers the music from the early days of this prog giant. Of course, the vocal department is not on par (but at least, the singer is not intending to sound as who you know).

Compositions are well crafted and complex enough to raise your interest. As such, the opening song "The Cave" mixes sweet acoustic passages and strong electric ones. Melody is on the rendezvous as well. Actually, this song is very good indeed.

The second one to catch my interest is "Antidote to Entropy": it starts with delicacy but rapidly turns out as a demoniac party with a wild and repetitive guitar riff. I guess that you got the point: KC is close by: all mighty and powerful. At mid time though, one is brought back to a wonderful symphonic rock fantasy: mellotron, flute, acoustic guitar. What a delight! THE highlight.

"PFM" comes to my mind when I listen to "Days of Reflection" (The World Became The World). The same delicacy can be found at times on the vocal side, lush keyboards and such a genuine symphonic feel. This is another very good song from this interesting album. It holds a great guitar closing part as well. Another highlight? For sure!

The tranquility conveyed by this album is again present during "A Silent Scream". The same ingredients are used than during the opener. And I have to say that I quite like the mix again: sweet and acoustic passages (flutes, guitar) which are combined by expressive and skilled keys and electric guitar. This is a fine and bombastic track even if vocals sound a bit flat.

I won't be laudatory about the short "Gravy Fries" which is a noisy affair and could have been avoided. But it should please die-hard KC fans... The same mood opens the longest track of this work. "The Devil's Trombone" is indeed a dark song which can remind the great Scandinavian scene: "Anekdoten" is not far away.

This album is quite good and deserves more exposure on such a site. It offers a wide range of musical pleasure: symphonic, acoustic, melodic, dark, oppressive, peaceful, complex: you name it!

As far as I'm concerned it is one of the best albums released by a US prog band ever. No less! Four stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I consider this album to be a good blend of Neo prog and some Genesis-like sort of thing. Vocals are really nice and the themes are really actual (and will be, as it deals with things like TV overdose, mass production and so). It is really well performed, with elements that any prog lover will ... (read more)

Report this review (#1175455) | Posted by MyDarling95 | Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The debut album from this US band is a pretty much overlooked gem, in my humble opinions. The first thing that springs into mind is the references to old Cathedral, the US band whose Stained..... album from the 1970s is a masterpiece. The vocals and the quirky melody lines is in that direct ... (read more)

Report this review (#286705) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is really quite good. Not some insipid neo crap. If you care at all for classic symph of a melancholic nature or, perhaps, 90s Scandinavian stuff (although this band is American), definitely pick up a copy. Their second album is passable. Too bad. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1420) | Posted by | Saturday, December 6, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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