Keep of Kalessin - Kolossus
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Black Metal
9 songs (54:20)
Release year: 2008
Keep Of Kalessin, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Ross
Album of the month
When Keep Of Kalessin released Armada I really thought they had raised the bar of their musical creativity to such a degree that they would struggle to attain anything close to that level of excellence on any future release. Fuck was I ever wrong there!! Their new offering, Kolossus has edged that bar another few notches further up the scale. I’d say “Things just don’t get any better than this!” but they’d just go and prove me wrong on their next release.

Kicking off with Origin, a two and a half minute guitar instrumental illuminating Obsidian C’s trademark two down/one up picking style along with his penchant for Flamenco grooves and proving that the money spent on classical guitar training was money well spent. Origin bleeds straight into A New Empire’s Birth releasing an explosion of blastbeats and double kicks from Vyl that could blow your shorts into a week on Wednesday. Wizziac’s bass somehow manages to keep up adding a low pulsing riffing machine replacing the rhythm guitar spot. Obsidian C’s guitaring is jaw-droppingly fast and technical Black Metal yet epically symphonic/melodic. As in Armada Thebon utilises his vast vocal repertoire to great effect, taking you through Black rasps, Death growls to Clean(ish) power, switching effortlessly between styles. This punishing onslaught keeps you captivated right through Against The Gods until the song’s lead-out where things go out of kilter and dissonant. It seems to go out of key and the bass drums get, for want of a better description, a ‘lumpy’ sound, something like an unmuffled Harley misfiring as it’s ticking over. Apparently, according to a drummer acquaintance, getting that irregular, missed beat sound is an extremely difficult feat to master, yet Vyl seems to pull it off with ease.

Gotta mention the waving-your-lighter-in-the-air moments of the album - Half way through The Rising Sign, with quite a melancholic piano piece, and Mark Of Power. Though they are balladesque in nature, they still exude an undercurrent of menacing blackness that will make your tail fuzz up. Mark Of Power links straight into the title track, probably the most formulaic Black Metal track of the album, with its ‘Wasps In A Can’ guitar buzz lead-in and predominantly Black rasp vocals. Anyone still missing Immortal can get a quick fix from this track; it may not scream Sons Of Northern Darkness but, in parts, could definitely be Cousins of the Sons Of Northern Darkness. Now, I know you Black Metal ‘True-ists’ and ‘Pure-ists’ will dismiss Kolossus out of hand, as you did with Armada, Satyricon’s Now Diabolical, most of Dimmu Borgir’s releases and all of Cradle Of Filth’s, just cos they do not conform to your ‘Old School’, stereotypical Black Metal formulae of the Church Burning Days. No doubt you will hold up Warmonger as everything that is wrong with Black Metal in general and this album in particular. Personally, I think it’s the best track on the album; and hereby lies the problem. The Black Metal community have a tendency to ‘Live the Music’, (hence the murders, the church burning and NSBM), who jealously guard their way of life against anyone or anything that would be detrimental to their cause. And Satan forbid that any band should become popular enough to have a commercially successful career. I think it is a great shame to have an attitude like this as you are closing your mind to so much. Every musical style has to have an array of sub-genres, if not you would have a narrow field of players churning out the same-old, same-old forever. Keep Of Kalessin have taken the nucleus of the same-old, same-old, breathed new life into it and turned it into something fresh and exciting. I always envisage the ‘Old School’ Black Metal fan getting a new release from under the counter at some back-alley record shack where they will scurry back to their cave, lock themselves away and listen to their prize through headphones so’s no one else can hear. Whereas with Kollossus I would demand all the high street record stores have a large stock, I’ll play the record in my car, loud, with the windows down and perhaps grab someone off the street and say “Hey dude, listen to this, it’s fucking brilliant – It’s Black Metal you know!”

So, I’m afraid to say to all you Black Metal Old Guard out there, your scene is in for a major shakeup. New blood is thundering in and Keep Of Kalessin is leading the charge and there’s not a lot you can do to stop it! (Folds arms, sits back and awaits backlash on Forum)

Be part of the dawning of a new era in Black Metal and check out some Vids and Sounds at Keep Of Kalessin related websites:


My Space Page

Nuclear Blast Splash Page

You Tube Search Results

I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank Alex for bringing Keep Of Kalessin to my attention with his Review Of Armada way back in 2006.

I was in a turmoil as to whether Kolossus is my Album Of The Year but there’s still a while to go and I’ve just learned Satyricon have a release planned for later on so I’ll award it with Album Of The Month - for now!
Killing Songs :
All of them
Ross quoted 96 / 100
Other albums by Keep of Kalessin that we have reviewed:
Keep of Kalessin - Epistemology reviewed by Alex and quoted 63 / 100
Keep of Kalessin - Introspection – Single reviewed by Jared and quoted no quote
Keep of Kalessin - Reptilian reviewed by Thomas and quoted 85 / 100
Keep of Kalessin - Armada reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
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