Krolok
Funeral Winds and Crimson Sky

One could say, when it comes to black metal, I have a mature palate. By that, I mean I’ve tasted a lot of it. Literally and figuratively. I’ve listened to a lot, but also took a bite out of a Darkthrone cd. It did not cure my Transilvanian Hunger. I’m a fan of bands within most black metal sub-genres, whether that’s traditional, post, melodic, symphonic, or even atmospheric, but it doesn’t have much of a presence on my year end list (spoiler alert). Go figure.

Anyway, this brings me to discuss Krolok’s new and second overall full length, Funeral Winds and Crimson Sky. While their aesthetics, mainly the lo-fi production values, would easily lump them into the traditional category of black metal, many stylistic choices they make throughout their recordings, and especially on the new one, would place them firmly on the atmospheric side.

Now that categorizing them is out of the way, the music deserves some dissection (not the band). The album is a tight 6 tracks and 36 minutes, so love or hate it, it won’t take up much of your time. After a suitably windy intro, including some almost tribal sounding drums, the first track “Black Lore of the Fens,” gets moving. Buzzsaw guitars? Yep. Background synths? Absolutely. Reverb-drenched vocals? You got it, friend. On the first track, the riffing is the star, despite not bringing anything new to the table, but the background synths are certainly a welcome addition.

On the next track, “Towards the Duskportals,” the synths are a little more at the front for the first part of the track with some playful “tings.” At less than halfway through, the song takes more of a turn into the traditional with a galloping guitar riff leading the way. What stands out on this album so far, despite only being two tracks in, is that Krolok are not afraid of changing the tempo.

The shortest track on here, which is a couple later at track 4, “Path to the Haunted Ruins,” serves as a bit of a segue. It’s instrumental and includes some cleanly picked guitars, but with its short length and lack of vocals, probably could have been left off.

To conclude the album of course is the longest track, which is also the title track. It begins with some unorthodox instrumentation, which honestly sounds a bit like the fire alarm from the fire department a couple of miles down that I can hear daily, although obviously not as loud. This builds into a crescendo before the song kicks in. What’s most intriguing is the end of the track, where of course the black metal instrumentation fades out, the wind picks back up, a church bell tolls, and some footsteps walking away end the album. Not bad.

At the end of the day, have you heard this before? That answer will almost always be a “yes.” However, what Krolok have done here, they have done quite well. When the only complaint is “yeah, but it’s been done,” that’s not much of one, is it? It’s like complaining about pizza because you’ve had it before. That makes you a monster… and if you complain about this album, I think that’s kind of the same thing.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
December 23rd, 2021

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