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Keep Of Kalessin – Kolossus

Label: Nuclear Blast USA
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
“Kolossus” is the fourth release from these Norwegian (really..did you expect them to be from any other country? Haha) black metallers. The name dates back to 1994 under the moniker Ildskjaer at a time when their lyrics were inspired by American writer U. Le Guin’s “The Earthsea Quartet”. A demo followed in 1996 and their first full length release in 1997 called “Through Times of War”. The album was often compared to Mayhem’s classic “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”.

‘Agnen: A Journey Through the Dark” in 1999, “Reclaim” E.p. which featured Frost from Satyricon on drums, and “Armada” in 2006 followed.

On “Kolossus”, a strummed acoustic guitar to “Origin” opens the album providing listeners with some dynamics right from the start. Further acoustic, and excellent clean guitar work, can also be heard in the opening bars and verses to “The Mark of Power”. I like this one a lot, the voice is not as harsh and evokes a different tone and emotion. It works very well. Using the acoustic and clean guitars was also smart in composition as it must be hard for these black metal artists to offer something different given the expected sound and style that comes with the territory.

Keep of Kalessin are no different from their peers as fast blasting rhythms and black metal guitar riffs are the essence to songs like “A New Empire’s Birth” and “Against the Gods” with a wicked evil voice that spews blaspheme and darkness. The vocals, provided by Thebon, are reminiscent of Tom Warrior from Celtic Frost, Nergal from Behemoth and I even hear some Lemmy from Motorhead in the tone and snarl for “Ascendant”.

Musically, by adding in little bits of vocal harmonies, incorporating breaks and touches of orchestrations from time to time, and lead guitar work for something like “The Rising Sun” adds a much needed dimension to the extreme core. The guitar leads I feel work very well for Keep adding melody on ‘Escape the Union” and more Black Metal bands should take note. Check out thrasher “Warmonger”, its a scorcher with plenty of guitars. And the solo section to the title track brought the name Yngwie Malmsteen to mind.

“Kolossus” is nine tracks of black metal majesty, well constructed, ready to assault your ears with force and fire.

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