Krallice
Krallice

I usually take the self generated press from label owners, PR folks and such for granted. Every PR person and label folk will tell me that the upcoming album from band X on their roster is amazing or brilliant.

So when the folks at Profound Lore told me that the debut from Krallice would be the best black metal album of 2008, I took it with a grain of salt. Even more so when I heard that Krallice was comprised of guitarists Colin Marston (Behold… The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Byla, Indricothere) and Mick Barr (Octis, Crom-Tech, Angelblood, The Flying Luttenbachers, Orthrelm); a duo whose material I have never really enjoyed or ‘got’ despite the unquestionable skill involved.

The thing is, Profound Lore might be right…

It would be easy to assume that Krallice would simply be a mess of a black metal record recorded by two folks that while instrumental geniuses, simply could not encapsulate a black metal record without it at least sounding like say, Behold…The Arctopus simply playing black metal, but Krallice ends up not only standing on its own as a superb black metal record, but having its own identity and presence that’s simply head and shoulders above most USBM being plied right now.

The immediate comparison that struck me from the opening chords of “Wretched Wisdom” was Weakling; long songs, distant shrieks and shouts, seething, tremolo picked riffage littered with layered, intricate structures and some moments of haunting introspection. I also hear some Deathspell Omega here in the chaotic guitar work though far less malevolent, and also some classic Ulver and Wolves in the Throne Room in the more organic hues, simple drum work, minimalist basslines and chord progressions. How’s that for elite name dropping?

Yeah-this is that good folks. Each of the 6 lengthy tracks is a foray into undulating, expressive and more impressive, technically crippling black metal. Just listen to the closing solo and peak of “Cnestorial” or the regal yet discordant gait of “Molec Codices” (showing those pulsing, minimalist Ulver basslines), with a cripplingly epic and brilliant second half that’s to just die for. “Timehusk” gives you a few moments to recover with a slow marching build, before exploding into a discordant vortex, where the Deathspell Omega reference comes in.

Standout “Energy Chasms” is initially a restrained but chaotic take on classical sounds but filtered through broken glass before its transcendental metamorphosis at 2-minutes in (and again at 5:50 minutes in) reveals a beautiful yet deadly style shift into some otherworldly melodies. It’s like gazing into the heart of a dying sun; a feeling that seems to fit the entire album. Closer “Forgiveness in Rot” is the album’s longest cut and overstays a tad too long, pushing the album to a shade over an hour, but still delivers a simply awe inspiring set of solos over a steady drum beat that ends with a breath exhaling collapse and a sense of closure that the album deserves.

With this debut, Krallice have risen to and arguably surpassed Wolves in the Throne room like levels of elite American black metal brilliance, and once again shows that Profound Lore, despite a few missteps of late (my opinion only) is a truly elite label , a label  that also told me that Krallice is no flash in the pan side project. Let’s hope they are right on that also.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
August 12th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: gordeth

    I checked into these guys after you mentioned them in another review. I already planned on getting it but this review makes me want it even more. That Weakling album is one of my favorites of all time so any comparison to them gets me interested. And, based on the song on Krallice’s myspace, I’d say it’s an accurate comparison.


  2. Commented by: Belgarath

    Been looking forward to this album for a while. Can’t wait to pick it up.


  3. Commented by: plaguemyheavensblack

    Everything you said here makes this album sound unreal. You had me at “Weakling” though. Gotta get this.


  4. Commented by: bast

    Good review, thanx, i´m enjoying this album.


  5. Commented by: Chris

    Agreed, this album is utterly amazing.


  6. Commented by: Dimaension X

    Very good album, though it doesn’t “feel” like black metal. It’s really had to define just what it sounds like. I kind of get the “Weakling” reference, but I don’t think it fits at all. This album is very well produced, somewhat technical progressive extreme metal.


  7. Commented by: TYW

    I listened to this and was WAY into it for a couple minutes then started to realize there was never any release! Oh my god just tension and really random riffs. The songwriting is terrible and why would I want to site through 10 minutes of this?! Am i missing something profound that you guys are getting. I doubt it! I think yet another strain of pretentious black metal is infiltrating this already obnoxious scene.I miss the days when metal actually had songwriters.


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