Review Summary: mickie barr is an alien
His music might be extremely polarizing and hard-to-get-into, but you’re completely retarded if you’re trying to deny Mick Barr’s guitar virtuosity. Barr is the mastermind behind avant-metal groups Ocrilim and Orthrelm, both of which have divided curious listeners even on this very site. While those two projects range from extremely abstract to annoyingly repetitive, there was no denying that each were very experimental and thus challenging. However, considering Barr’s past work, it is indeed very surprising that this new six-track album--self-titled after the project, which is called Krallice--is so much less
challenging. In fact, it’s the most straightforward album Barr has ever created. However, this newfound direction leads to disappointingly mixed results.
While albums such as Ocrilim’s Annwn
featured fifteen minutes of straight repetitive soloing, Krallice
features Barr using his talent to pound out some of the fastest and catchiest riffs that you may ever find on a black metal album. They also are some of the more unusual: riffs are complex and layered perfectly with other guitarist Colin Marston, and Barr’s guitarwork has more range than the usual black metal axe-wielder. It’s easy to find yourself getting lost in his riffs and solos--which are also particularly excellent, to note--like you would in a good ambient album. As far as everything else goes instrumentally, it’s all top-notch. Featuring members from like-minded bands such as Behold…The Arctopus and Astomatous, these other members provide an excellent backbone to Barr, offering up groovy basslines from Nick McMaster (real name) and thick, full drumming that sounds as if the band nicked a huge set from Rush or someone, provided by Lev Weinstein. The spectacular instrumental job is definitely aided by the meaty production, which allows everything to be cleanly heard and adds a sort of distant coldness to Krallice’s sound as well through alternating mechanical whines and a frozen icy atmosphere.
This frigid mechanical feel of Krallice
starts to wear down quite a bit, though. The whole album feels as if it was made from inhuman hands; everything is so perfectly precise, blunt, and non-emotional that it sounds like the kind of “math-black-metal” that calculators would rock out to. Sixty-five minutes of this alien preciseness definitely becomes rather wearing. You also have the ridiculous concept: apparently Krallice
concerns with emotional depth or some sh
it, it's not really important, as it's just pretentious crap that seems thrown in to increase the whole mystic artiness of this. The lyrics, while mostly unrecognizable and completely irrelevent, are as equally repetitive and up-their-own-as
s. Another downside to Krallice
is its ridiculous repetitiveness. Repetitiveness has always been something Barr’s records have had, and has even been something Barr’s aimed for. Krallice
obviously isn’t aiming for a repetitive structure; as songs fluctuate and bend in ways similar to post-rock songs, only with a lot more METAL; but it curses the album anyways, with some riffs (like the opening one on “Forgiveness in Rot”, thank God that track ends in one of the most amazing riff progressions you’ll ever hear or it’d be nigh unlistenable) dragging on way longer than any human would ever want to listen to. Which begs the question: is this album even for humans? Is Barr actually connecting with alien listeners with Krallice
? Or is Barr
the alien, and is he trying to infect our brains with this lengthy listen? If my well-researched theory is correct, than he should think about trying to make something a little more reasonably listenable next time, to, you know, infect more stupid humans.