San Diego’s CHON are renowned by many as a group of progressive metal prodigies touching up warm, chilled out, SoCal grooves with pinch harmonics, double kick drumming and virtuoso guitar soloing. In Woohoo!, CHON strip away many of the hardcore and metal sensibilities of both Newborn Sun and their 2008 demo. Following the sombre acoustic prologue, ‘Super Potion’, CHON unleash a new yet familiar face. ‘Knot’ captures the chilled-out feel of CHON but doesn’t overwhelm with old hat guitar trickery. It boasts the many impressive harmonic progressions, melodious non-sequiturs and intercalated frenetic arpeggios typical of CHON’s sound but, with distortion pedals and metal genre novelties at bay, the sound is not in danger of being dubbed pretentious.
Dropping the distortion really works for CHON because the clean sound is far more inviting to the listener. It allows us to really feel the poetry of the melodies, and not just simply nod at the virtuosity. It becomes less of a guitar nerd parade and more of a discourse in artful song-writing. Despite its facetious name, Woohoo! is an EP that is mature and very (very) intelligent.
Progressive, jazz, angularity, disjointed riffs, party mix, math rock
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