Khaotika, a melodic black metal band from Atlanta, GA, formed in 2014 and released their first EP that same year. Led by the incredible voice and intense stage presence of Lariyah Hayes, this band brings something new and really exciting to the world of black metal. The intensity and speed were on par with some of the greats of the genre. I found some similarities to bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Unexpect, and Moonspell, along with a unique twist of a very schizophrenic and obscure performance.
Aside from the obvious talent needed to play such an intense style of music, this particular crew had a certain fluidity about their playing that you don’t often see. It was immediately clear to me that although this is a pretty new band, all of these musicians were weathered veterans of their craft. The two guitarists, with what seemed to be entirely opposite personalities, worked brilliantly together. Sergio Quesada floated all across his fretboard effortlessly but kept a very calm zen-like presence, while James Barile was assaulting the crowd with utmost intensity and excellent guitar work simultaneously. Bassist Matt Shaner and Drummer Nicholas Crisostomo kept a solid foundation throughout while occasionally showing some tremendous chops as well. Lariyah thanked the fans for being a part of the show and had kind words for all the other bands on the tour. Overall this was a badass performance and an amazing display of talent.
With a heavy heart and a broken spirit I do need to say that just a few days after their show here in Chicago, Khaotika’s tour bus ended up in a terrible accident. Although the other members are now recovering, drummer Nicholas Crisostomo did not survive the crash. Two members of Wormreich were also killed in the crash. I hope for a quick recovery to all the others involved in this tragedy and want to offer my most sincere condolences to everyone involved, along with their family and friends.