Wednesday, October 8, 2008

KEEP OF KALESSIN - Kolossus CD review

Nuclear Blast Records

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a jaded motherfucker. And when it comes to reading hype about a band's upcoming release. My bullshit detector goes off like a nuclear bomb. Case in point with this release by KEEP OF KALESSIN since it was called "the most anticipated Black Metal release of the decade", "Black Metal's fastest rising stars", "the new state of the art Black Metal release", etc. The problem is that they're not really Black Metal at all, at least not in the traditional sense. They're more of what you would call genre bending. Not that
there's anything wrong with it since we have plenty of bands doing Blackened Thrash, Blackened Death Metal,etc. (Speaking of bending what's up with the face powder and eyeliner? What are they Black Metal metro-sexuals too?) Now getting back to the music, KEEP OF KALESSIN are simply just one of many newer bands that are like garnish on top of the Black Metal soup. They simply float on top of the genre by adding so many other elements (seminal Thrash, Tech Death, Progressive piano interludes). That's why people who actually despise Black Metal went apeshit over their 2006 release Armada. And for all of you losers who want to cite street cred to the band because in the past MAYHEM's Attila and SATYRICON's Frost were band members, forget it chumps. This has been the guitarist/composer Obsidian C's vision for years now. One more interesting thought is the deja vu factor. A year ago there was another highly anticipated release by a Norwegian Black Metal act on Nuclear Blast Records, DIMMU BORGIR. They too came out with a highly produced release that purposely stretched the boundaries of the genre in order to be more accessible to
listeners. Also raising up the debate again about mainstream versus underground Black Metal.

But the overall proof is in the music and my first initial reaction is "what's so state of the art about this"? Songs like "Ascendant", "Against the Gods", and even "A New Empire's Birth" sound like something ripped off of any recent Epic Battle Metal/Pagan Metal band releases. So for any Metal media snob who would call Battle Metal ridiculous I have to ask "what's your excuse then for liking this?" Personally I do like alot of Battle Metal and that's what KEEP OF KALESSIN have put together on here. The band does throw a few bones at ya like on "Warmonger". But the rest of this CD is chock full of pseudo-progressive intricate melodies which is
something more akin to the background music for a viking battle scene than a satanic ritual. Once again, not that there's anything really wrong with that. And KEEP OF KALESSIN are touring with ELUVEITIE, a Swiss Battle/Pagan Metal band, right now. So let's keep things honest here. Alot of these Battle/Pagan Metal bands lean heavily on Melodic Death Metal influences as the basis for their sound. KEEP OF KALESSIN simply use trigger drum infused Thrash and some Black Metal influences into their own Battle Metal style. And if TURISAS can wear the red and black war paint then these guys can adorn themselves with face powder and black eyeliner. As long as
it's sweat proof because if it's not well then they're really going to look funny.

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