Chaos Dei Falls on a Wednesday This Year
Right now, I think it's safe to say that the French are leading the black metal pack. They tend to be just as avant-garde and experimental as the more lauded US bands, but without losing the viciousness of Scandinavian black metal. The French black metal scene also has the distinction of having plenty of bands that don't sound like one another. The scene doesn't have a sound, per se, but certain principles and unifying themes. Chaos Dei fits those expectations perfectly well.
After a silly noise intro (aren't we all tired of intro tracks by now?) they blast into "And Your Steles Will Burn". The main riff is high-speed, and vaguely Middle Eastern-sounding. But then they slow it down and do plenty of string-bending. Dissect the essential parts of that, and you'll have the Chaos Dei M.O.: each song has more than one tempo, at least one memorable melody, and an unusual sonic element that helps it stand out (a la the aforementioned string-bending or the strange leads of "Deepless").
Other than their studied approach to writing songs you can actually tell apart, the vocal style is another way Chaos Dei differs from typical black metal. Rather than your average Norwegian rasp, they've employed a distorted croak/rasp. It's not a huge departure, but it is instantly identifiable. The production job, as well, is of much higher quality than you'd get off some "necro" "kvlt" label-less release; while natural-sounding, you can still tell it was actually produced and not recorded on a 4-track in someone's bedroom.
The Verdict: Chaos Dei have created a very good debut that shows promise for their future. It's Exhibit Z in the case proving that the rest of the world wishes it had France's black metal scene. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.