|Review: Keep of Kalessin - Kolossus|
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year released: 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: January 15, 2009
Reviewed by: Baldr
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (10 Votes)
Keep of Kalessin decided to name their new album Kolossus, that sounds like a challenge to the metal world and like a promise to the listener. The music itself also reeks of that ambition - unfortunately it can't fulfill the promise. To make it short: The band fell colossally flat on the face with this.
Let's take a second to look back at their last album, the widely lauded Armada. It was a wickedly fast and precise barrage of modern, melodic Black Metal with some epic touches here and there. This time around the band apparently decided to focus completely on the epic parts. The problem is, when you go for epic songs there isn't a large margin for error. If you don't succeed the result is usually terribly boring instead. That's exactly what happened here.
The album starts with the almost obligatory introduction track that manages to lead into the first real piece rather nicely. Next up is the decent, yet slightly repetitive "A New Empire's Birth". It's a classic Keep of Kalessin song that could have been easily on the previous album. So far so good, the problems begin from here on.
"Against the Gods" is a 9 minute song that you have enough of after just 3 minutes. It's symptomatic for the whole album. The guitars start with a decent riff, the drums barrage in the background with the typical clicky blast sound that we know from Armada and then after a few repetitions of that riff you wonder where the song will go next. Only... it never goes anywhere. It just goes on endlessly with the same intensity over and over again. Oh, at the end of the song, to be exact for the full last three minutes there is another riff! Too bad it's even more uninteresting than the first one and it's just repeated again over and over. The band tries to be epic with this, but they fail to build up any sort of tension. To add insult to injury, huge parts of the album are totally ruined with overblown introductions and half-acoustical interludes that, again, try to summon some sense of epic but fail. Over half of the song "The Rising Sign" isn't metal but an extended piano interlude. I wouldn't have a problem with this at all if it was any good and would add something to the song's atmosphere, but it's just there as filler and does absolutely nothing.
Now what really surprised me was the song "Warmonger", where the band blatantly ripped off themselves. It's a rehash of the the vocal melodies and the main riff of their own song "The Black Uncharted" from Armada. I don't think they did this accidentally, it seems the similarity is intended. I guess I just don't see the point. Especially since the song is unfortunately worse in every aspect than the original.
The title track features the nicest music on the whole album, but it's totally ruined by horrible songwriting. The awesome riffs are buried in between over four minutes of garbage. The song starts with over a minute of introduction, gets to the good parts, then after just two minutes goes back to over two minutes of boring interlude, treats us again to just a bit over one minute of music before the extended outro kicks in. Why do we have to sit through all that stuff to get to some good music? The answer is we don't, we'll just listen to other music instead. It's sad that the band completely wastes their talent on such extravagant crap instead of writing actual songs. I can only hope they'll lose lots of fans again with this record, so they get their act together and re-evaluate where they want to go with their music.
The closing track "Ascendant" and "The Mark of Power" are genuinely cool tracks. They show that the band can still write good songs. Incidentally those are the shortest ones on the album. Keep of Kalessin can make great music of they get to the point. Overall a major disappointment.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Armada (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)|
Review: Kolossus (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
Review: Reptilian (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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