Keep Of Kalessin
Agnen: A Journey Through The Dark

Keep Of Kalessin has been around sine 1997, since 1993 if you include their time as Ildskjaer. In nearly a decade they have released only two full lengths, 1998’s debut and 1999’s Agnen, both on Italy’s Advantgarde. Not very prolific, and so I was surprised when WWIII/ Mercenary Musik re-released both albums in North America. I had assumed that the MIA Keep was empty, that the dragon had flown to other lands. Does this re-release mean KOK is working on a new album? They have been rumored to be since 2000.

As most of you are aware, A Journey through the Dark is faster and more atmospheric than Through Times Of War. KOK successfully moved to Sweden style wise, incorporating death/ thrash sensibilities, even altering the vocals to more of a Dark Funeral style. One could say they went from cloning the Norwegian style to cloning the Swedish style, but it’s more than mimicry. Many, if not most, clone bands are called that because their musicianship pales next to the originators. There are those rare bands that out do the innovators at their own style and win an audience because of it. Once again KOK has superior sound quality, and excellent musicianship. They excel at the slower end of the speed scale, however, and it is these slower sections, like in “As Mist Lay Silent Beneath” that make this album stand out. While Keep Of Kalessin is accomplished at full throttle, Marduk and In Battle still have nothing to worry about. It is that successful mix of speeds that make bands like Dark Funeral into superior acts, and Agnen is successful enough at it to make me think a followup album is long overdue.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
January 22nd, 2002

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