Keep of Kalessin - _Kolossus_
(Tabu Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
Given that Keep of Kalessin's mainman, Arnt "Obsidian Claw", has practically forged a career out of thumbing his nose at many of black metal's stayed conventions, it really should surprise no one that _Kolossus_ has ended up sounding like it does. In fact, by the time 2006's _Armada_ rolled into town, the band had virtually stepped out of its genre-shadow entirely anyway and were lavished with praise as a result. Purists therefore should tread cautiously here.Recorded virtually live, in their own Trondheim-based studio, "A New Empire's Birth" gets us started and is a true statement of intent. With hints of traditional metal, prog and thrash sprinkled over the course of its five and a half minutes, it's a bristling piece that ensures maximum impact while keeping you guessing from start to finish. Torbjörn Schei's vocals scale a diverse plateau of throaty rasps, growls and melodic screams, but it's on the sprawling "Against the Gods" where he truly comes into his own; the track's epic nature accentuated by his almost King Diamond-like ability to mutate his voice into a host of distinct incarnations. It's here too where the band play most true to their roots, Vegar Larsen's blasting drums providing a hyperactive pulse against his bandmates' frenetic riffing.At times _Kolossus_ plays like a condensed retrospective of the band's most successfully executed ideas; "Escape the Union" and "The Rising Sign" having a distinctly _Armada_-like feel -- minus what little filler that album had. "The Rising Sun" in particular is elevated to levels of jaw-dropping genius with a soaring chorus that has festival sing-a-long etched into its every fibre. This in mind, the only song that truly sees Keep of Kalessin go out on a limb creatively is the blackened balladry of "The Mark of Power". It leaves one wondering where the band could possibly go next after such a complete and polished offering. For now however, we enjoy _Kolossus_ for what it is: one of the most potent releases of the year, and a career high for its creators.
All contents copyright 1995-2014 their individual creators. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
All opinions expressed in Chronicles of Chaos are opinions held at the time of writing by the individuals expressing them.
They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else, past or present.