Delve in as we explore Chevalier’s Medieval-themed gritty speed metal work. Packed full with oozing thematic influence, detrimental guitar solos, and blasphemously-invigorating vocal performances, Destiny Calls is not a record to miss.
Chevalier, translated to knight in English, produce ripping medieval-themed speed metal in the vein of French bands Titan and Blaspheme. Oh wait, Chevalier are Finnish though, was that confusing?
Luckily for us, the only thing confusing about this band is their association with France in regards to heavy influence. Chevalier place a heavy thematic focus on the Medieval period: a time of jousting, sword fighting, too much chainmail, and general uncleanliness. I’d say that’s a pretty bang-on way of describing Destiny Calls.
Oddly enough, the production is the most unique aspect of this album. While a tinge of that sweet “full-sounding” speed metal production quality is definitely here, there are a lot of other studio choices at play. Energetic and rebounding percussion, a barebones lead guitar tone, and gritty bass output are three things that come to mind. These all hit the listener with the force of a full-on mace swing when “Introduction” transitions to opening track “The Immurement” which hosts a trashcan opening. Usually this technique is used to finish songs that otherwise could not have been wrapped up, and thus the drummer will smash their kit in successively slowing motion until your speakers are filled with a crashing symbol hit which slowly fades away. However, Chevalier use this technique as an opening, which in itself isn’t all that uncommon, albeit the choice really highlights the album’s unique production, as the drums, bass, and guitar are all introduced in unison – the listener now succumbs to Destiny Calls.
While your ears definitely become acclimatized to Chevalier’s brilliant production choices over the course of the tracks that follow, the band’s impeccable songwriting ability and general charisma hold you over until the record’s final note. This really isn’t an exaggeration; I listened to Sodom’s Tapping the Vein after my initial playthrough of Destiny Calls and the drastic juxtaposition between Chevalier’s unique Medieval world and Sodom’s more-or-less standard thrash sound really highlight how unique this new full-length really is, just from a production standpoint.
Furthermore, I read in a contemporary interview on Ride Into Glory with Tommi, one of Chevalier’s guitarists, who went on to describe how Destiny Calls was actually recorded live in studio as a band. Of course, the individual tracks were taken and mastered and put back together, but this “live” mentality also contributes to the medieval theme.
You see, everything just feels rough around the edges on this release. We’ve got the aforementioned recording practice, which isn’t necessarily evident while listening, but the album definitely doesn’t sound perfectly executed as something like a technical death metal album would present as. Furthermore, the opposing forces of vocalist Emma Grönqvist’s clean, almost dreamlike vocal deliveries and the gritty, real rough-sounding instrumental production adds to the whole vibe of this release. Finally, the drum solos and lead guitar portions all feel somewhat improvised, which obviously isn’t the case, but nothing feels overly rehearsed. Of course, within a pop record these wouldn’t be inherently good qualities, but we’re talking about gritty speed metal here, this is different.
Other than that, there’s not much to it. For what I am including in my discussion, I’m not including other elements because they are unnoteworthy but in the sense that there is nothing really wrong with them. The production lathers over a slew of delightful speed metal track bases that each deserve listens. From what I’ve gathered, there are no bum numbers here.
In the end, Chevalier seemed to have produced something truly unique here. The underground have been going crazy over Destiny Calls, and for good reason. While this certainly isn’t innovative enough to be called something inherently new per-se, Destiny Calls blends a whole slew of elements from various places along the musical spectrum – ultimately creating a fresh piece of music. I urge you to listen to this, I can foresee this being on my 2020 top ten for sure!