Keep Of Kalessin
Armada

Shed the high profile members, keep the audience. Historically the strength of Keep of Kalessin was drumming and vocals. Both positions changed hands for Reclaim, and both have changed again here, with original drummer Vyl back in the fold where he belongs, replacing Frost. Thebon replaces the pinch hitter Attila, who also jumped on board for Reclaim. The skill level remains high with these new additions. Now one can add guitars to the list of strengths, thanks to Obsidian’s marked improvement, moving from one of the better guitarists to one of the best in short order.

Speed and precision are still the underpinnings of caustic songs though this is not noisy Norse black metal anymore, though they never really were, this is polished to a nice sheen and the songwriting equals the production values. Slower passages hold their own, a long time strength of the band, with killer riffs that stick in your head, but mostly this is still all out speed. The vocals are harsh growls and harsher yells with some actual singing. New vocalist Thebon wastes no time introducing himself on the album opener “Crown of the Kings,” putting himself through the paces quite admirably from the get go. Attila who? This band has a long list of memorable songs and I hear several more on this album. “The Black Uncharted” is a true highlight, featuring a bit of melodic singing, a nice cleanly picked guitar solo, and the fancy guitar lines and skillful drum artistry we have come to expect. “The Wealth of Darkness” is the other big highlight here, with clean and harsh singing, yes singing, as well as the usual growls and snarls to go along with stampeding drums that force everyone else to keep up or get out of the way. The guitars keep up with memorable riffs the carry the middle section.

I will single out one more song that showcases the Keep Of Kalessin we know and respect, “Vengeance Rising.” Vicious vocals, blazing speed, off kilter steamroller attack, and a puddle of venomous spittle on the floor by the song’s end. Luckily the various distortion effects of Reclaim are not reclaimed for use here. I don’t care whether they are still true or not, they are becoming, if not already there, a mandatory band for metalheads of all stripes.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
March 20th, 2006

Comments

  1. Commented by: fightingmike

    This record has a really great overall mix of black metal styles (traditional, symphonic, progressive) while remaining blazingly fast yet somewhat catchy. I love the epic feeling of this record. I normally steer towards the progressive side of black metal (Enslaved), and this have enough of those elements to remain interesting while still pummelling the listener.


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