“Anger is a gift”, claimed a song on Chrysalide’s 2011 breakthrough album Don’t Be Scared, It’s About Life, and judging by the tone of timbre of their latest Personal Revolution, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. The French group made up of brothers Arco and Syco Trauma and Yoann Amnesy are, if anything, more scathing and righteous than they were a couple years back, channeling all that sound and fury into a much more politicized direction. It’s weird to think of a record as loud and rough as Don’t Be Scared as being “subtle”, and even weirder to consider that spiking its explicitly personal themes with a broad message self-actualization would yield a record even more bracing and fortifying than its predecessor.
Yeah, you read that right: Chrysalide, a group who could generously have been referred to as sardonic (or even misanthropic if you want to go there) up ’til this point are putting out totally genuine songs called “Cynicism is a Poison” and singing about how “Tomorrow is Too Late”. Let me assure you: despite seeming po-faced and earnest on paper, those themes are positively weaponized in the context of Personal Revolution. It’s a simple message but one that rings as true: you should be angry, the world is fucked up and you owe it to yourself and everyone you know to channel that fury into doing something about it.
The fit between those lyrics and the sound that Chrysalide have been cultivating since 1997 is unsurprisingly quite snug. The magic of the trio’s music has always been the harnessing of harsh and distorted beats of the power noise variety to propel their sample and synth based songs over the top. Everything they do is a miracle of the digital mix, as on “We Are Not Cursed” where the hoover-from-hell lead coexists with a classic electro-industrial baseline and the shouted vocals without ever bleeding over or burying one another. The aggression of their material often obscures just how amazingly produced their songs are, allowing the staccato “Question Everything” to be both an annihilating rhythmic workout and a clear as vocal call to action fortified with blippy arpeggios and banshee-wail synth pads. Even on restrained numbers like the breakbeat kissed “Another Kind of Me” or the (dare I say it?) forlorn closer “I Had a Dream” Chrysalide manage to insert multitudes without ever feeling less than nimble and razor sharp.
Personal Revolution is a remarkable record for any number of reasons. I could go on about how I feel like I can’t stay seated when I hear the brothers intone “remember tomorrow is too late” or how the massive mechanical build of the title track gets me as amped as anything I can recall in recent memory, but really, any description isn’t going to do this music the justice it deserves. It’s an album you feel in your guts, one that wears it’s message on its sleeve without ever feeling insincere or preachy, and that puts its money where its mouth is in the production department. We’ve known for a while that Chrysalide were a unique quantity in the world of industrial, and with this album they’ve said nuts to upping the ante and simply flipped the whole games table over. Chrysalide aren’t playing games with you, and it’d be in your best interest to do them the same courtesy. Highly recommended.