Chronique | Kaos Karma - Panic Room

Pierre Sopor 2 mai 2024

Life is made up of cycles. Take Chemical Sweet Kid for example: what started out as a dark electro project nearly fifteen years ago has gradually mutated into an industrial metal band. While the trio, still discreet in France, are beginning to make their mark in Germany, Julien Kidam is embarking on a side-project... by getting rid of the guitars. Should Kaos Karma be seen as a return to his roots for the artist?

Well, yes and no. Of course, Panic Room has a lot in common with 2011's Tears of Pain: the same sense of musical gimmick, the same unstoppable melody that sinks into your eardrums, the same taste for aggression... but it's also a little out of sync with, once again, a cover version as a conclusion. But Kaos Karma doesn't repeat anything: in over ten years, Julien Kidam has fed off what the scene around him has to offer. Above all, he has lost none of his flair for the theatrical, and his vociferations are at once those of a frightening creature and of the Monsieur Loyal who presents this monstrous circus.

While the DNA of the genre's staples is still there (the nasal vocals that spit out their bile like Erk Aicrag in Hocico and Rabia Sorda, for example, on the furious, heady Fake Life, where the percussion adds a welcome industrial weight), Kaos Karma borrows from EBSM, darksynth (there's a bit of Tamtrum meets Perturbator in the frenetic Deaf Violence) or more pop tunes to create an immediate, universal appeal, closer to the danceable facets of Project Pitchfork than the chilling nightmares of Suicide Commando (is it any coincidence that Peter Spilles' project, with whom Chemical Sweet Kid have often shared the stage, remixed one of the tracks? ). Into the Dead of Night, Wanderer, Break the Silence, Down in the Pit and, of course, this unlikely cover of Daddy Cool all have the potential to be festive and unifying.

Despite their apparent simplicity, the tracks are carefully crafted and sufficiently rich and fleshed out to bring out their theatrical, sometimes even horrific side (I Will Dance in Your Nightmares or the very cold Forgotten, whose sound design and vocal effects contribute greatly to its effectiveness). Kaos Karma have digested their many influences, both past and present, to come up with a seductive debut album that's both fun and oppressive, easy to love but with an eye for detail. Above all, it offers a lighter interlude to Chemical Sweet Kid... while perhaps offering a more bankable alternative, at least across the Rhine, as well as being less restrictive from a logistical point of view. Clever! In any case, Panic Room is packed with potential hits just waiting to be added to your playlists.