ARTIST: Chaos Doctrine
SINGLE NAME: Black Friday Bedlam (feat. Jörgen Sandström)
RELEASE DATE: February 12, 2021
COUNTRY: South Africa
GENRE: Industrial Thrash
Dr. D (Vocals)
Jörgen Sandström (Guest Vocals)
Alec Surridge (Guitars)
Phil Carstens (Bass & Backing Vocals)
Rory Townes (Drums)
When it comes to Swedish death metal, there are a few names that instantly spring to the
communal mind when considering the ‘best of the best’ vocalists: LG Petrov (Entombed); Matti Kärki
(Dismember); Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates); Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy); and Mikael Åkerfeldt
(Opeth). The final entry on this list is quite possibly the deadliest of them all and has proved himself
time and again – Mr. Jörgen Sandström of Grave, Entombed, Torture Division, and (notably) The
Project Hate MCMXCIX fame. His instantly-recognisable ferocious bellow is one of the most natural
and terrifying growls in all of death metal, a demonic volley that can put the listener straight on their
ass with tears in their eyes.
When Johannesburg-based sonic terrorists Chaos Doctrine were writing for their first album, one of
the songs was put aside for a later date. ‘Black Friday Bedlam’ was a track that (then) drummer
Ralph Margo likened to ‘At The Entrance To Hell’s Unholy Fire’, the blistering opening number from
‘Armageddon March Eternal’ by The Project Hate MCMXCIX. When the band started putting songs
together for their upcoming 2021 full-length, they dusted off ‘Black Friday Bedlam’, gave it a few
tweaks, and slipped it into the track listing. Margo, a personal friend of Sandström, thought that the
man’s unique growl would add a further dimension to the song and, after deliberation with both him
and the band, got him on board. The results are immediate and imminently successful.
The ‘Doctrine lads have been honing their industrial-fused thrash vibe for a while now and, whether
due to the addition of Sandström or heightened because of it, ‘Black Friday Bedlam’ is their most
complete and satisfying song thus far. The riff hits hard and fast, with solid groove and a tasty beat,
and the obligatory sound bites totally accentuate the story of a man hitting breaking point and going
on a killing spree. Chilling in all the right ways.
Dr. D’s vocals have finally reached Tom Araya level, with Sandström roaring in tandem at an epic
pace. This makes for a heady stew of violent, catchy thrash with an icy veneer, especially the times
when the song slows to swampy, eerie spots, giving off more than a little ‘Dead Skin Mask’ action.
The guitar solos are nimble and (almost) melodic and play through some exciting runs that add to
the atmosphere rather than show off, something that always pleases more than flat-out shred with
no soul. As the song finishes up, we’re left with a chilling final chapter that leaves the listener
unsettled and thoroughly fulfilled.
The production is big and, at the same time, claustrophobic, but it suits the material and punches
like a drunk bastard – Surridge has definitely found his groove with spacing the sound evenly and
giving the music all the room to play around whilst retaining a tight control around the guitars and
(obviously) the one-two punch of the vocals.
So why doesn’t the song get a full 10 out of 10 from me? Those Araya vocals are just that – a
complete homage to the man’s visceral process that sound JUST LIKE ARAYA. There’s little to no
Daniel Burger in there whatsoever and, in fact, if no-one had told me, I would have thought that the
Slayer frontman had also guested here. I can dig that the mood and overall feel requires a similar
delivery to Araya, but it needs to be an addition to Burger’s voice and not a total copy of the man’s
But that said, ‘Black Friday Bedlam’ is a major step up in the ‘Doctrine evolution and keeps us
anxious to see what the rest of the new album might offer. Their style is solidly intact but there’s a
new-found confidence that breathes ample amounts of energy into the proceedings and I think we
can expect something really tasty on the upcoming record. Definitely one of the highlights of the
South African metal scene for 2021!
Reviewed by: John Morrow