German rockers Chaosbay have evolved from a standard rock band to a thrillingly heavy progressive metal band filled with complexity and melody.
The band began back in 2012 when the quartet were all music students in Mannheim. But it all changed with frontman Jan Listing spending a year in Ireland, which gave them ideas and inspiration to do something more complex.
Now based in Berlin and Kaiserslautern, the band offer up an intriguing combination of melodic sections countered by seriously heavy, intricate progressive rock.
For example, latest single Amen , opens up with a twisting guitar lick that gives way to huge powerful low-tuned guitar chords. Jan’s laid-back high-pitched vocals (which sound very similar to those of Audiovent, for those that remember the band) take over, and feed into a heavier chorus of “If there is a God, How could this happen? If there is a God, We don’t need a Devil, If there is a God, I’ve learnt my lesson, If there is a God, We are the weapon, this can’t be heaven” supported by booming blasts of low-tuned guitars.
The second chorus drops into a huge section of booming low-tuned guitars, big rolling drums and a sireny synth noise, which are joined by huge screams of “We stand tall against your racism, Against your anxiety, About this future, We learn from what you do wrong, We’re going to win, We’re not gonna fall this time.” That suddenly drops into distant vocals over light guitars, which builds up into another big singalong chorus.
Another big smash of guitars follows and drops into a funky laid-back guitar solo, which feeds into mellow vocals to bring this epic track to an end. Check it out in the video below:
We had a chat with Jan to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Chaosbay?
JL: “CHAOSBAY is a progressive metal band from Berlin and Kaiserslautern in Germany. We were founded in 2012 as music students in Mannheim. We started off as a standard rock band, but after my year abroad in Ireland I decided I wanted to write more complex music with a deeper meaning.
“Living in another country gave me loads of new inspirations and ideas. That’s why we are now a progressive band. We toured a few times in Germany, played some festivals, released three EPs and one album. Now we all live in Berlin (our drummer lives in Kaiserslautern) and we are professional pop musicians for other artists, I am a producer and some of us teach music.”
GR: You just released Amen. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
JL: “This song is the second single off our new album ASYLUM (expected in fall 2020). The whole album is about social problems in our country. Especially the song AMEN deals with the rise of the right wing parties in our government (like in other countries as well), which we strongly dislike.
We had a big wave of refugees coming to us from Syria and other countries mainly in 2015 because of war in their home country. It shocked me that so many people here reacted with rejection and hatred to these poor people. So that is why I felt the urge to write about my feelings in that time and how I see our moral responsibility when human beings are in need. That’s just a short summary of a more complex story, but you get the idea.
Musically this song summarizes our band sound the best. It gives a perfect preview of what you can expect with the album.
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
JL: “Brutal riffs, catchy verses, big chorus melodies and a great instrumental performance (awesome bandmates, love!!). Also some growling parts, but not too much. A significant lead voice.
“We are also known for very long songs and concept albums that follow a certain theme throughout the whole album. So you will recognize certain musical motives that always appear here and there again. That makes it fun to write and glues the whole work together.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
JL: “I received a classical music education, so maybe that is why I write long and symphonic tracks I guess. Now my daily life as a musician influences my music.
“I hear a lot of different music everyday and it always gives me ideas for new songs. But I must say I am a big pop fan. I just love the art of a simple but beautiful song that just works out with an acoustic guitar. I love to turn these timeless tracks into metal monsters. It’s just fun and gives me the best of both worlds.
“Lyric-wise I was very into fictional topics in the last years. Some autobiography as well. But this year I started writing about social problems and real topics out there. I think we live in a time where we have something to say. And we should. I want to make rock music have a meaning again.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
JL: “I grew up with Rock and Nu-Metal bands like Limp Bizkit, Incubus, Linkin Park. Then I discovered prog. In the early years of our band my biggest influences were classic bands like Dream Theater, Pain Of Salvation, Tool, Porcupine Tree. But in the last years I was really into more modern prog-sound like Periphery, Tesseract, Meshuggah, Twelve Foot Ninja.
But also pop giants influenced me: I am a huge fan of John Mayer.”
GR: We don’t to get to talk to too many German rock/metal bands. What are your thoughts on the current rock/metal scene in Germany?
JL: “I must say it is pretty hard in this scene nowadays. People do not go out to see concerts as much as they did before. Because of streaming and social media everyone is so oversaturated with music that it is hard to get someone interested in new music and play good shows.
“The demand is quite big, but the supply even bigger. It’s hard to get through this jungle of bands. Especially when your music is a bit more complex. There is not much support as well. You just have to work hard and be persistent even more than before. I heard the scene in the Netherlands or Belgium is way better support-wise. Maybe we should try it there.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
JL: “We are releasing our new album ASYLUM in fall 2020 and we are booking a release tour for that at the moment. There will be some cool video content in the meantime as well. So stay tuned.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
JL: “Just have a listen if you want. And (if you are in/around Germany) come to our shows. People say we are pretty solid on stage and show way more facets than on our records. So this seems to be worth a try.
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