London quintet Chaos Reigns freely admit that they may never make it mainstream, but they’re hell-bent on showing the rest of the hardcore scene how it’s done.
The band first started coming together when bassist Billy Padmore met drummer Max Maxwell at an Every Time I Die gig. Dan Tolley joined on vocals and the gigs started coming in, only for both their guitarists to leave but soon be replaced by Joe Griffin and Lorinc Meszaros.
And their hardcore approach is inspired by delivering the energy they feel the genre’s scene deserves. As Billy tells us: “The main reason I wanted to start a hardcore band was the energy I saw from the genre onstage. I’d been in a few bands before, but none that really warranted the stage presence found in hardcore, and after seeing some hardcore bands playing pretty basic stuff but still remaining stationary and expressionless onstage, I kinda wanted to set out to show them up.”
The latest example of this is new single Big Beat Manifesto – which we sincerely hope is a Peep Show reference – that not only shows the band’s ability to write an absolute beauty but also create engaging videos.
A cowbell hit kicks things off and launches us into a wild blitz of vocals over driving guitars. A fun diving riff comes in over rolling drums then dives into a seriously catchy big chorus of “On the weekend when the sun goes down we come out to play, Been waiting all week for this moment, And if the fuzz chase after you: run away, run away, run away, We cause chaos right through ‘til Monday morning.” Check it out in the video below:
And that sentiment is equally present in previous release Peripheral, on which Billy tells us: “The reception has been amazing, we can’t believe how many people have watched and shared the video. The video itself is probably a big factor in its popularity; we were conscious of not creating a video that looked like a lot of what is out there right now, i.e. good quality recording but ultimately boring with regards to content, and I feel we achieved that.”
The track is big and shouty with all manner of awesome riffs flying about in support of deliciously cathartic shoutalong vocals, such as “What if you could soar above buildings, walls? Endless sight. Levitate and take flight.” And keep an eye out for a naughty little cowbell interlude section, which I’m always a massive fan of. Check it out in the wacky video below:
The band’s early sound was largely inspired by the likes of Gallows and The Host Of A Thousand but is gradually evolving. As Billy says: “That was mainly as I hadn’t written in this style before, so I used those bands as a starting point. Now, as the band is becoming more collaborative and ambitious, I feel the influences and the sound has changed. It’s becoming more chaotic, more in line with Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Peripheral is one of our earlier songs by the way, so it’s only gonna get weirder from here.
“I’d always loved those bands but thought it was too daunting trying to sound like them when I’d never played in a hardcore band before. It also comes back to why I formed Chaos Reigns; seeing a band like Dillinger play some of the most advanced music out there, and still run circles around other bands onstage, it pushes me to create the most chaotic sound and stage show. It’s pretty much given that we’re not gonna break the mainstream, but if our shows become notorious even outside of the hardcore scene the way Dillinger’s did, I’ll consider that a success.”
And in terms of what inspires them to write, Billy adds: “With regards to writing music, it’s the thrill of playing your own material onstage, as well as having a finished product you can be proud of. It’s tough to make money doing this but the fact that we’re pursuing a dream is what keeps me going.
“Most of the lyrics come from Dan’s personal experiences and cover different themes, observations or whatever he’s pissed off about. It’s a form of therapy to get darker thoughts out there, but even the more heavy lyrics will always have a positive message or advice in there somewhere.”
Billy’s point regarding Chaos Reigns ‘not breaking the mainstream’ is probably a fair one, but it also says a lot about where the current music industry. There’s no reason they shouldn’t make it big. Their music is energetic and engaging, catchy and hugely enjoyable – so just because it’s supposedly heavy why should that prevent this style of music becoming mainstream? But then, maybe we’d all just hate it because it’s mainstream.
You can give the finger to the mainstream by going along to see Chaos Reigns play at The Black Heart in Camden tomorrow night (Tuesday 19 February). They’re also playing Downsurge Festival at New Cross Inn on Friday (22 February) and Boston Music Rooms alongside The Armed and Rough Hands next Tuesday (26 February). More info on their gigs is here.
As Billy tells us: “Josh Scogin said that the reason The Chariot released albums was to bring more people to their live shows, and while we put a lot of effort into our writing and recording, getting people to our shows is the main thing.”