"Propaganda" (Self-produced; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

In the great tradition of progressive rock, Chaos Code stretch boundaries as much as possible. With “Propaganda,” Chaos Code generally push themselves (and pull their listeners) toward a more art rock direction. I’ve always appreciated the non-conforming nature of Baltimore-based bands. Creating and producing “art-rock” is about one of the most non-conforming was to produce music these days.

“Propaganda” is Chaos Code’s third release; “Propaganda” follows the debut “A Tapestry Of Afterthoughts” and their sophomore effort “The Tragedy Of Leaps And Bounds.” You can tell from the patient pacing of the music that the band has been around the studio before. Chaos Code utilized the services of local mid-Atlantic legendary Orion Studios and Secret Sound Studios to record their work. Chaos Code are literally located in my backyard. I’ve got to open my eyes a bit wider.

“Propaganda” features ten tracks – pretty standard for a rock CD. However, the disc features a couple of full-on epics and the rest are basically traditional length tracks that manage to do a lot in five minutes (or less). What’s critical to remember is that song-length doesn’t define the band – it’s the creativity brought to the surface as a result of the freedom of expression we often take for granted.

Like most prog-rock efforts Chaos Code’s “Propaganda” finds a consistent ability to mix guitar, keyboards, and bass in the most balanced of ways. However, I particularly like the way Chaos Code mixes in saxophone, flute, and trumpet throughout the disc in a unique and complimentary manner. “Saturated” is probably my favorite track on the disc and also serves as a great example of how Chaos Code manages this particular feat.

What Chaos Code lacks in typical metal/hard rock energy it makes up for it with a disciplined, studied, cerebral approach that is fully engaging at all times.

Fans of King Crimson’s mellower material will appreciate Chaos Code’s “Propaganda.”

“Propaganda” was produced by Chaos Code, engineered by John Grant and Toni Correlli, and mixed by John Grant.

Chaos Code: Cliff Phelphs on vocals, guitar, Rhodes piano, synthesizers, and flute; Gary Curtis on bass; Patrick Gaffney on drums; Barry Caudill on tenor sax; Jose Silva on harmony vocals; and Dave Markowiecki on trumpet on one track. Note: Patrick Gaffney has played with the Baltimore-based prog rock outfit Cerebus Effect.

For more information visit 

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:11 -0500.