Keep of Kalessin
Kolossus


3.0
good

Review

by istaros USER (1 Reviews)
June 10th, 2008 | 26 replies | 47,628 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite re-using a lot of the same elements Armada had, Kolossus manages to leave its own impression and at the very least is a sign of progress.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

This is a really good album, but it suffers from the same thing as Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk - namely, it's a revisitation of an album the band in question had already made, albeit in a slightly more refined and mature presentation. Emperor's Anthems was very much In the Nightside Eclipse v2.0, and in the same way, this one is very much Armada v2.0. Some of the songs even use the same lines or structures (cf. "Warmonger" vs "Many Are We")

But to be honest, I somewhat expected this. Armada was an excellent release, and it's quite common for this to happen once a band releases a breakthrough album. And that's not to say it's a bad album, at all; in fact, it's pretty remarkable. Anthems actually benefited from this approach; it was different enough from Nightside to avoid being equated to it by too many people. But Kolossus is VERY similar to Armada. Even so, it does have its moments, and the best of these are when it veers from replicating Armada - one particular example is the mixture of rough, finger-sliding Gorgoroth-esque riffing in "The Rising Sign" with a spacey synth interlude very reminiscent of Arcturus' Sideshow Symphonies or La Masquerade Infernale. If that last statement didn't already make it obvious enough, this album also displays much more of a progressive influence than Armada, which did have them, but only on occasion.

Moving away from that for a moment, the instrumention on Kolossus is a definite step up from that on Armada, which itself had nearly flawless instrumentation already. The bass is surprisingly audible for a black metal release, which is an *extremely* welcome change, to me at least. It even comes close to being the centerpiece in a few song sections. Also nice: the drums. Right up front and center. Right from the first moments of the album's first "real" song, a message is made very clearly that the drumming on this is going to be both very prominent and very enjoyable. And that message is not in the least bit inaccurate - the double bass on this could be used to resuscitate heart attack victims.

Also made very clear from the album's start, is that the Iberian guitar flourishes which Keep of Kalessin began toying with in the Reclaim EP, and which they used as a primary flavoring for Armada, have now become a full-blown main ingredient. Aside from this, the guitars are essentially the same as before, but there are quite a few more solos, and the speed heard on songs like "Vengeance Rising" and "Into the Fire" is present on just about every song on the album.

I'm not going to say one song is better than all the rest. But, perhaps the best example of what the album as a whole is like, would be the song "Escape the Union." It starts off with the Castilian guitar sounds, quickly degenerates into a very traditional TNBM guitar line, sweeps back up into majesty and melody, with drums slamming their way through the wall of noise as the bass continually builds it back up. The melodic lines are catchy without being goofy or too positive(in fact, they almost sound mournful), the prog structures become more and more evident as the song nears its end, and, incidentally, it has a kickass guitar solo.

However, all the songs are good to some degree; the title track is ridiculously epic and majestic. It is the music that would be playing as an entire planet crumbled to dust. If "Against the Gods" doesn't make you want to beat rhinos senseless with your bare knuckles, nothing will. "Ascendant" may be the single most-appropriately-titled song on the album; it actually is uplifting and empowering. It is absolutely anthemic. Without being gay. I promise.

Oddly enough, this album has what might be Kalessin's first real ballad. I won't say anything more about that. Not because it's awful, it's perfectly decent. Probably one of the best on the album, in fact. It just came as a surprise to me and I think it should be that way for anyone who hears it. And for those who are already sneering - it doesn't stay very ballad-like for long. Again, Sideshow Symphonies comes to mind for this one. Emperor too. Even Strapping Young Lad, albeit to a much lesser degree.

In short, it's a great album. It does lack the sense of being something brand new and unprecedented. But, all the elements that were heard before on Armada have been expanded upon - not left to stagnate until they could be rehashed for a new album. The band has used the same elements, but their implentation is vastly improved. There were several moments on Armada where the transitions between two very good, but very different, song sections felt a little jarring(the solo in "Winged Watcher" being one example). Here, everything flows naturally. As for the rest - the melodic hooks are catchier but less predictable, the Spanish guitar-playing is more emphasized, there's a very heavy progressive influence, and it's obvious these guys have *all* been practicing. It is unfortunate that it's so reminiscent of Armada, but in another sense that too may be a boon instead of a bane. Armada and Kolossus can be seen as two sides of the same coin; Armada is the soundtrack to a footsoldier's chaotic and bloody war, while Kolossus describes the majesty and destruction of naval bombardments.

Which one the listener prefers is nothing more than a matter of taste. Armada may be more innovative and unique, but Kolossus, although revisiting the same ideas, does so with much more gusto and makes no apologies for it. Nor should it. It's a worthy listen, and if you enjoy music which causes your mind to wander towards visions of an apocalyptic far future where there is as much blood and violence as there is grandeur and beauty, then it is also a very worthy buy.


user ratings (87)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
masscows
June 10th 2008



2236 Comments


Not as good as Armada. Much less 'epic' and it seems like they've lost the conviction they had before.
Good review, will pos vote.

gasmaskman
June 10th 2008



1006 Comments


I couldn't stand this band when I saw them live.

masscows
June 10th 2008



2236 Comments


I saw them live too and I must say, the horrible sound setup they had made them sound like shit. They're great on disc though.

istaros
June 11th 2008



310 Comments


yeah, i saw them in austin along with behemoth. they were playing with dimmu borgir but i didn't stick around for them. and yeah, their performance itself was perfectly fine - but the sound quality was just terrible. if i hadn't already been familiar with the songs, i wouldn't have been able to follow them at all. they played "A New Empire's Birth" and that's exactly what it was like, since i hadn't heard Kolossus yet

incidentally, this is my first review, so any advice is welcome. both now and in the future. i normally wouldn't reference another album as much as i did here but the truth is, the band itself referenced it a lot more in the album itself

Wizard
June 11th 2008



19296 Comments


Good review dude. Despite our quarrels in the past, I will still vote! hahaha I will be sure to check this out

Concerning your first paragraph, you could say almost every metal band updates upon their first release. I would say your 2.0 analogy is more like an update than anything else. But you did a good job backing yourself up so no complaints here, just a comment!

Digging: Downer - Downer

istaros
June 11th 2008



310 Comments


that's true. but at this link: http://www.anus.com/metal/emperor/ i read a review about Anthems which made me realize that said album has songs that are almost identical, in their basic structures/moods, as Nightside. not only that, but they're organized on both albums in a similar sequence. i still prefer Anthems to Nightside myself, it was just a more relevant comparison than most. and truth be told that happens more often than not with metal bands; 90% of them basically make the same album over and over. it doesn't help that most metal fans(especially black metal fans) start bitching about the tiniest little change at any and every opportunity

Wizard
June 11th 2008



19296 Comments


it doesn't help that most metal fans(especially black metal fans) start bitching about the tiniest little change at any and every opportunity

Those are the narrow minded metalheads. I find around here that most of the metalheads are pretty open minded.

Cheers man! These guys sound promising. Do they have a myspace page?

istaros
June 11th 2008



310 Comments


http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news.php?newsid=6550

Wizard
June 11th 2008



19296 Comments


Not bad, not bad. Their sound is a little hallow but the two songs on their myspace page show they know how to put arrangements together quite well. I will probably check this out further.

Yazz_Flute
June 21st 2008



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice, pretty awesome album. The double bass attack during the guitar outbreak in the Mark of Power is insane.

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Hawks
June 22nd 2008



35289 Comments


The songs I heard from this album were just decent. This band has never really impressed me much.

Digging: Brutal Truth - Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses

Yazz_Flute
June 26th 2008



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really like this album, top 10 for me this year so far, but Armada destroys this. I'll listen to this and think it's amazing, then listen to Armada after and forget about this.

istaros
June 26th 2008



310 Comments


yeah, bodominflames, "Mark of Power" was the one i referred to when saying it could be considered (possibly) their first ballad. or pseudo-ballad, maybe. i've been trying to find out who did the drumming. but for all i know it could be programmed

i do think Armada's significantly better, but i can see how someone might see it the other way around. this record is definitely more mature, but even so it just feels less engaging to me

Edgecrusher
July 8th 2008



137 Comments


decent band

yontar
August 10th 2008



23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

phhhh i thought armada was very overdone and one of the cheesiest (not in a good way) albums i have heard in a while. When i first heard it I instantly just kind of said to myself "its a melodic behemoth . I actually like this album quite a bit. It's more progressive and FAR more mature than Armada. Maybe my tastes are a little more refined when it comes to epic stuff, but i like this album quite a bit.

Yazz_Flute
August 10th 2008



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I didnt think armada was cheesy at all, its a lot better than this imo. I dislike the production on this, and a few of the longer songs (except the title track) tend to drag.


Hawks
August 10th 2008



35289 Comments


There's nothing cheesy about Armada. Its just not that great. Still haven't heard this.

istaros
August 10th 2008



310 Comments


Armada is a little cheesy -anything singing about battle and navies and whatnot is bound to be at moments- but not so much that one should really notice. i definitely prefer it to this, but this one is a lot more progressive for sure

IllidanTG
January 23rd 2009



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This piece of art is colossal in one way. They pushed the majestic sounding to a point where it is extreme. Some people get angry because of the production of this album. I strongly oppose label driven songwriting policies, and since I listen to a great variety of music, in this respect, i'm quite outraged with 2008. But Keep of Kalessin just jumps out as a band where the production quality actually helped to create an avant-garde Enslaved Ruun-Vertebrae-like feel, with a totally different and coherent approach. Less minimalistic elements, sometimes barocueqesc over usage of interesting, yet to the point riffs and musical arrangements. And if before you say, i'm smoking weed or something for writing all of this, think about the fact, that this band, like it or not, has found a new and own musical sounding and direction, hard hitting and orchestral some times. Apart and separate from the fact, that they now travel with the Nuclear Blast ship.

ithyphallic
August 17th 2009



5 Comments


Nice review, although I'm yet to check out Armada.

And well done on the 'double bass on this could be used to resuscitate heart attack victims' part - it's a little better than all the 'double bass cuts up prostitutes with a chainsaw' and the like around here. hehe.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy