KEEP OF KALESSIN – Reptilian CD
Indie Recordings/Nuclear Blast records
To put it politely I’ve never been a fan of this Norwegian band’s brand/style of black metal. Over the years I’ve reviewed two of their releases, Armada from 2006 and Kolossus from 2008. People who are true fans of this band always say I need to get their 2003 EP Reclaim because it has Attila from MAYHEM on vocals and Frost from SATYRICON (and with every other band in Norway for that matter). Attila also did some guest vocals on Armada. In 2008 the band even came through my little corner of the world on tour. I didn’t go which of course caused concern from people who wondered why I didn’t show up for a black metal show. Was I sick or something? Yeah and this band gave me the running trots. I will see em this year since they’re on the bill with NILE at a local venue for a Halloween show. I can see it now, corpse painted faces and people walking around with King Tut headdresses. I’d better put a deposit in early for a seat at the bar. I kinda feel bad for em now since who buys merch on Halloween, especially a t-shirt?
So here we are again with KEEP OF KALESSIN and after a few listens I’m still to the point of calling em progressive black metal-core. Maybe that’s just part of their appeal which garners them so much hype. I have read the hype. If that’s the case then progressive black metal-core it is and these four guys do it well enough to drive me into the bedroom in order to place a pillow over my head. They also add plenty of symphonic keyboards to their songs which makes me wonder are they trying to hide something. On a whole the band’s sound seems mainstream popular metal and even includes a song “Dragontower” which seems like a radio friendly hit. Maybe they’re shooting to be on Norwegian’s Top 40 with Kasey Corpseface or something. Good luck with that. Most of the cuts on here are similar to Kolossus as in riffs, structure, etc. There’s also an obligatory 14 minute closing number, “Reptillan Majesty”, standard fair nowadays. Maybe someone should just hold the pillow over my face for the length of that song and just get it over with.
KEEP OF KALESSIN must be trying to expand their career shelf life by appealing to a more mainstream audience. The production on here is incredible. Compared to the above mentioned past releases, their singer adds more clean vocals than before. Clean sounding choruses in black metal? The cuts chug along at a precision pace and there’s very little technical effort put into the musicianship which is why the full blown symphonic keyboard treatment feels so overbearing. Pushing my own bias aside, if this band is shooting for the degree of popularity and sales that DIMMU BORGIR garners, well they’ll get it with Reptilian.