After releasing three CDs in four years at a rate of about a hundred riffs per album, it was bound to happen: The Chasm finally ran out of riffs. Whereas the three previous Chasm albums outline a path of artistic development from each work to the next, Spell of Retribution stops that progression dead in its tracks, instead, preferring to tear snapshots from the last three CDs and glue them all together into a collage of recycled riffs. The self-plagiarism permeates this work so fully that long-time Chasm fans can -- every time a new riff pops up -- easily sit back and recite the albums and songs from which these "new" riffs originally came. You know the songwriting's stale when the only thing that stands out about an album is its botched production job -- in this case, the staple gun double bass.
Notes: Thankfully, the five years in between Spell of Retribution and the recently released Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm seem to have revitalized The Chasm's creative energies in the same way that 2006's Oath Bound revived Austria's struggling Summoning.
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