Keep of Kalessin - Reptilian
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death/Black/Epic Metal
8 songs (56:57)
Release year: 2010
Keep Of Kalessin, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Thomas

Keep of Kalessin got scolded, trashed and spat out of most metal-fans universes after their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest with the hideous The Dragontower. When I first heard that song a couple of weeks back, I was shocked. I loved Armada and while Kolossus never became what I expected it to be, I was completely shocked when I heard their commercially stripped down and bland contribution to the completely useless competition. I was ready to lay a ton of violence on Reptilian. I went in with no expectations at all, ready to be downright pissed off after hearing it and score it crap of the month. With Kolossus still in mind, a record that is surprisingly sloppy, especially when you have such talented musicians behind the wheel, I had literally no hope that they would rise from the embers that were nearly put out after their shameless performance in Eurovision...

… And here I am. I've been listening to this for a couple of weeks now and I can't for the life of me get it out of my head. This is a little more accessible than both Armada and Kolossus, yet it is in no way anywhere near the level of The Dragontower which is the only tune here that flat-out sucks. Except a couple of tracks, there isn't much more pure black metal left. They like to tag themselves Epic Extreme Metal, and while it's not that extreme in terms of attitude, lyricism or even song-writing, it is definitely extremely epic with touches of death, black and power metal, and for once the cheesy fantasy theme fits like a glove. If you dug Armada and Kolossus, you'll love this as well. You might say that the jolly Norwegians have found their niche, as this is much more mature than their earlier releases, especially Kolossus. The opener Dragon Iconography blew me completely of my feet. It's fast, like always, only it sounds far tighter than earlier. Obsidian C churns out a couple of heroic licks that I like to rewind and listen to over and over again. Thebon shuffles many styles, and on this particular song he even does some Atilla-like vocals. He doesn't nail them but overall, but with everything taken into consideration he sounds great. The Awakening continues in the same vein despite its odd intro, the arrangements are huge, drenched in majestic layers such as choirs and symphonic elements. This is going to get a fair share of hate because of the vast amount of blast-beats. However, they've always used this to the maximum, and if you don't like it then you won't enjoy this album even though there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. Keep of Kalessin is blast-beats though, so I don't take much notice of it, and in all honesty it's just fun listening. The production is great, if you like it polished of course. The guitars sounds clear as day, and even though the drums have a slight dry sound, it's all balanced.

Prior to the release, Obsisdian C said that this would be a more in-your-face album, with a more direct approach. I agree with that, and the fact that they have woven in a lot of melody to soften it up a bit, it never takes away the barbed wire that rubs your face. Except the terrible aforementioned The Dragontower, this ranges from good to great. Even the slow, doomy and apocalyptic Dark Moonless Night fits the epic bill, with maybe the best chorus on the record. Despite the emergency-rhymes sung by Thebon, it's impossible not to sing along with it and I have many a time caught myself in the act trying to imitate the brilliant, deep growls he gurgles on the verses. The epic 14-minute closer sums up the album in fine fashion with moments exploding in an angry inferno, slower, crushing parts and the usual fast and furious bits. This is a great black, death, power and even thrash metal hybrid drenched in melody and enormous arrangements. The guys sound top notch on everything they do except The Dragontower, and while it's not as consistent as Armada, it's very mature, and definitely introduces a couple of new, interesting yet faint touches. If you liked them before Eurovision, and refuse to check them out because they participated, you're missing out on something. Highly recommended.

Killing Songs :
Dragon Iconography, Dark as Moonless Night, Reptilian Majesty
Thomas quoted 85 / 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 - Kolossus reviewed by Ross and quoted 96 / 100
Keep of Kalessin - Armada reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 7 replies to this review. Last one on Wed May 19, 2010 2:34 am
View and Post comments