Koldborn - _First Enslavement_
(Diehard Music, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (9 out of 10)
With so many bands pushing the boundaries of death metal at the moment, it is either brave or foolhardy to claim to enslave the genre. Koldborn, however, are feeling confident enough to make such a statement, and with good reason. A heavy and brutal production with a cold and chewy guitar sound underpinned by an ever present bass rumble makes _First Enslavement_ sound really effective from the word go. With tight and prominently treble drumming they succeed in being sharp but retain their crushing heaviness. The mix is a very strong one for the music and Koldborn perform commendably, displaying chemistry and talent. The most remarkable member is vocalist Martin, who not only possesses a strong range and a savagely powerful tone, but asserts himself as one in command and proves to be a key element when so many death vocalists just blend into the background. There is a lot of melody on _First Enslavement_ and the songs flow very well. Koldborn are obviously learned in constructing riff progressions and they often embellish passages of their music, making each song exciting and interesting to the listener. There is very little mindless blasting but the pace and tone are always leaning towards intense. "In Breathless Sighs" displays a very creative side to the band, utilising clean vocals, different paces and a deep metallic groove. There is also a lot of mood and atmosphere created by the riffage; this is accomplished without the aid of keyboards. When we get a sustained whine of feedback and the floodgates open for "All Bowing Heads Roll", Koldborn sound masterfully brutal and drummer Rasmus seems augmented in his role of controlling each riff passage. Though the second half of the album loses a little momentum, the standard of metal remains high, as it is performed by musicians whose hearts are in it. It is a shame that there aren't more passages of lead solos, as Koldborn are obviously capable but choose to use this device very minimally. They succeed in creating songs that flow in a way that seems almost elegant. Admittedly _First Enslavement_ boasts lyrics that would easily suit power metal, but this is a good thing; there is no ranting about violence and gore in a grammatically unsound way, although lines like "Ride the demon with me" are endearingly silly. If there is anything that gets in the way of them opening their careers with a full ten, it is that _First Enslavement_ does not enslave or re-invent anything. Koldborn just stay within familiar boundaries and play death metal very, very well indeed.

Contact: thanatos@koldborn.dk

(article published 5/4/2003)

4/28/2005 X Hoose 7.5 Koldborn - The Devil of All Deals
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