Keep of Kalessin
7/11/2008 - Review by: Raising Iron
2008 and the trend for Black Metal bands to venture out of the frozen north and into slightly warmer, less harsh, and more melodious climes continues. Keep of Kalessin have certainly joined the caravan, with their new album "Kolossus" fully in tow. Black Metal purists will have plenty to complain about with this one, like Dimmu Borgir and Dark Fortress in recent times, but hell, this is the kind of injection the genre needs to keep from stagnating in the frigid forests.
Many have been wondering if KoK could top their last heralded effort, "Armada", and I'd have to say they come close. There are more acoustic interludes on here, and the vocals, being a kind of clean rasp, aren't quite as virulent as the last time around. Now, although their Black Metal roots are intact, they most definitely are not to the fore. There is a clear continuation here from what they gave us with "Armada", yet they may have traveled a bit too far south for some to bear. You see, melody reigns supreme on this outing, and although the roiling guitars and churning drumbeats make their appearances, most songs are overall mid-paced of velocity with varying speeds and dynamics. "The Mark Of Power" has an almost 80s traditional metal feel to it's composition, "The Rising Sign" breaks for a very lush, slow, acoustic passage with nice keyboards carrying the song back around to it's choral conclusion, and what is probably the best track, "Kolossus", is a huge epic, borrowing elements from Viking Metal.
What's lacking here is the sense of attack that "Armada" had. Where it was purposeful and vicious in its assault, "Kolussus" finds contentment with its knowledge that it has found its chair amongst today's top purveyors of Melodic Black Metal. A sense of "cruise-control" drives throughout this release, and that's why this album falls a bit short compared to the exhilaration that was "Armada". Still, it's a damn fine release, culling much wonderful euphony out of their well of ideas, which frankly shows no signs of running dry.
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