“If there was one album to sum up the last 15 years of metalcore, it’s Chaos Through Clarity” confidently says Joe D, guitarist of NYC’s new metalcore titans Surfacing.
The founder, guitarist and co-producer makes a statement that isn’t too far-fetched. With influences of early 2000s metalcore like Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu, Killswitch Engage, and Trivium meeting the more modern sounds of August Burns Red, Parkway Drive, and Miss May I, Chaos Through Clarity is the album that could bring avid fans of the genre full circle. Chaos Through Clarity is a concept album that elicits Surfacing’s dark history to your ears. Lyrically the mad genius vocalist Ryan Mayorga takes you through a dark journey via his Randy Blythe-esque howling and almost disturbingly precise singing. The backbone of the album is drummer Tony Gabriel’s chops while the dual guitarists Joe D and Brian Wenzler bring heart with no shortage off riffs, solos or melodies. Bassist Adam Magosa tastefully drizzles over the rest with complimentary soul, especially with his solo leading to the album’s pinnacle track “In The Wake Of Armageddon“. The opening track “Thank You For The Inspiration” could be considered an instant metalcore classic with it’s diverse technique stretched across every section of the song. The ending lyric of the the song “The tide has come to town” foreshadows the epic flood of concepts and prowess that listeners will have to endure for the almost next hour. The following track “Amongst Giants” showcases the band’s musicianship and songwriting that proves that the New York City quintet will not be a one trick pony and rather more a force to reckon with for years to come. The pop-metal “Turned To Ink” and banger “The Demons Of Attica” will hook headbangers worldwide while tracks like “Circles” and “Pitch Black” bring catchy melodies to grab fans of the softer side of metalcore. The title track’s goosebump inducing creepy piano intro leads to a Danny Elfman style instrumental that is raised to 10 once vocalist Mayorga joins in using his album spread cameo lyrics proclaiming “Chaos Through Clarity – no one is safe, no one is saved“. The track then jumps into a siren-like alarming guitar lead that is gradually pummeled by the bands rhythm section. The ending builds up to the largest sounding intro of the album in “A Wish To Perish” which with wrath, grace and an anthem like chorus ends the album. Chaos Through Clarity surely doesn’t waste a beat and with purpose in it’s almost too polished over for metalcore feel you can tell the album took over 5 years to complete. Nonetheless, the grit and glamour of the album will shake up the genre and leave an impact that will stay with listeners for a long time.
In regards to the group’s long delay of the release Joe D states “When a band releases an album it’s usually the beginning of a new cycle, not with us. Finally releasing Chaos Through Clarity is the end of a hellacious ride that the boys and I have gone through. It’s more of a relief and caps off the dark days. The post Chaos Through Clarity release cycle is simply new life for us“. The dark times Joe D is referring to are the band’s struggle from genesis to Joe D’s felony incarceration in New York City’s infamous Rikers Island and persevering through album delays from 2012 to 2015. From childhood friends in their hometown of Greenpoint, Brooklyn to a band member unable to endure the journey and others questioned.
Surfacing’s roots are firmly dug into their hometown of Greenpoint where you can find the statue on Chaos Through Clarity’s album cover. Years ago drummer Tony Gabriel and bassist Adam Magosa grew up as friends living on the same street and original guitarist Matthew Kujawa joined living just around the corner. It was in junior high school where Tony met guitarist Joe D. At the time they both played snare drum in the school’s band and Joe D eventually joined the crew. Throughout high school the boys stayed in touch and kept up with their instruments. Come spring 2009 Joe D frustratingly drops out of college and decides to start a band. He initially contacts his then best friend Adam Magosa, a female pop-punk vocalist they had known and an old friend, Tony. Tony joins but the run with the female vocalist was short lived. The remaining three decide on a change of direction and with a recommendation by Joe D’s now wife they recruit her friend, another Greenpoint resident, Ryan Mayorga. With a focus on metal Joe D knew another old friend would be eager to join. Matt completed the 5 piece lineup and by December 2009 the boys officially became Surfacing. By 2011 they release 4 songs which would all end up on 2015’s full length. Unhappy with the quality of those recordings and shows with the local scene Surfacing decide to take 2012 off from shows and set their sights on a full length. In May 2012 they meet and decide to proceed with engineer David Andronico and the following day Joe D is arrested for an incident involving him and Adam a few days prior. Joe D states he initially got into the fight attempting to retrieve Adam’s cell stolen cell phone. The band begins recording with Andronico and release Thank You For The Inspiration, Amongst Giants, and Turned To Ink with Joe D’s pending case looming. Come August 2013 Joe D is sentenced to serve 5 months on Rikers Island for a felony assault charge and the rest of the album is put on halt. After being released early on good behavior in late 2013 the band proceed however come February 2014 guitarist Matt decides he can not endure the wait any longer. The band recruits a shreddy lead guitarist from the suburbs of NYC named Brian Wenzler. Looking to finally release the album with Brian the band finds more struggle as vocalist Ryan’s commitment is questioned. After a brief hiatus in early 2015 and despair running high Ryan returns and Chaos Through Clarity is finally completed with tracks like Circles and Through The Depths originally written in 2009. Surfacing will release the long awaited full length on December 18th, 2015.
“Chaos Through Clarity to me is finding what you love more than anything and going through hell to obtain it” Joe D continues. “We definitely didn’t know how much art would imitate life when naming this album all those years ago. The good thing is that through this journey we have found solace that feels more pure and genuine than any other life lesson could have taught us. We’re extremely happy now and ready more than ever.” The road ahead of Surfacing couldn’t be any brighter with Chaos Through Clarity in their back pockets. Without a doubt their hard work has paid off.