There is something instantly awesome about Costa Mesa, California’s own Chameleon Technology. It might be the obvious punk/metal aggression, the fast-paced, high adrenaline, kick-you-in-the-face attitude -- or perhaps that disenchanted 90s teenager that lives in me is excited to hear something that sounds so familiar? Either way, Chameleon Technology is not for the faint of heart, which means I liked it straight away. Releasing -- or, rather, unleashing -- their new album entitled Blank Canvas means listeners should get ready to have their punk faces melted.
Opening with the high octane track entitled “No Safe Word”, Blank Canvas jumps right into the angst-filled fire. With fists raised high in the air, Chameleon Technology are poised to strike lightning straight into the listener’s hearts. The guitars are impressive, and, along with the crushing drums, this track has some great moments, but it is the bass line that is the true star of this song. Fast and furious, “No Safe Word” is a beautiful middle finger attitude wrapped up in some serious punk rock skill.
I am not sure why so many punk bands, or solo punk artists in this case, lean on one or two awkward and almost humorous-sounding songs, but the track entitled “Serin’s Vending” feels a bit like that punk filler to me. The song is fast enough and angry enough, but, somehow, that strange chord change doesn’t quite fit my ears properly. It's not a bad song by any means, but not my current Chameleon Technology favorite; it could very well be one of those great sleeper hit tracks, though.
“Lifestyle Science” is everything I love in music. It is simple, powerful, and catchy as hell. The vocals are beautifully done and truly showcase that special thing this band has to offer. Reminding me of a great punk band called The Smalls, Chameleon Technology has offered us something of a true musical gem here. I think I may have listened to this song at least five times in a row, which isn’t that impressive really if you consider the fact that the song comes in under two minutes. One thing is for sure: this act won’t be winning any prog-rock awards with songs almost as brief as a hiccup, or, in their case, a swift punch to the music listening face.
The final track, and single, entitled “Blank Canvas” channels a little bit of that TOOL meets early AFI meets Bad Religion energy. As far as singles go, this is exactly what you want to hear from a musician. You want to hear that raw honesty, that signature style, and that music that moves you into motion, and that is very much what “Blank Canvas” does.
The album as a whole is a fast and action-packed gem of punk-rock-metal goodness. Every song rushes in and rushes out, and, most of the time, you are left a little unfulfilled from the brief songwriting; in many ways, it feels like one song split into a few more, but perhaps my prog-rock TOOL mind simply doesn’t know how to comprehend such short musical timelines. If you enjoy music with attitude, music that does not hold your hand or spoon feed you through the ups and downs, or you simply need something stronger than coffee, then go out and get this new album from the awesome Chameleon Technology.