Keep of Kalessin
Reptilian


3.0
good

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
May 10th, 2010 | 36 replies | 6,638 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A one-trick pony that occasionally rises above to deliver something unexpected.

I’m honestly torn between thinking that Keep Of Kalessin have hit the nail on the head or completely missed each time there is a track change in Reptilian, the Norwegians’ latest offering. I mean, the things which are done right here are absolutely phenomenal, yet the blemishes are profound and almost irrevocably bad. The vocals cross the line between great and awkward numerous times, with the screams being competent enough to slip by while the clean vocals wallow in pretentiousness and mediocrity. It’s not that their music is wildly out-of-focus or pulling in influences which don’t belong there; it’s just that the album seems to fall asleep at the wheel, so to speak. Their melding of symphonic black metal and death metal gets an infusion of melody which is both refreshing but also precariously used as a crutch to keep things from falling into a bland, lifeless shell of an album. Going from a course which is straight as an arrow to veering wildly out of control, Reptilian tests the patience of the listener to wade through the mud to discover the gems therein, which aren’t necessarily prevalent but are always sizable.

The riffs are the backbone of the album, and are solid enough to really keep things interesting yet noticeably heavy and fast-moving. It’s not until the likes of “Dark As Moonless Night” when things take a turn towards deliberate atmospherics that are immensely satisfying but also vital to the album’s replay value. However, to get there the album moves through a near constant shift between filler and enjoyable material, with recycled atmospheres and similar riffing wiping clean any originality which rears its head. The chorus to “The Dragontower” sounds almost like it’s influenced by power metal, something which is later confirmed when a wailing guitar solo works its way in, and the doom touches to “Dark As Moonless Night” are well-executed and particularly memorable. It’s a shame, though, that Keep Of Kalessin tosses variety aside when they overuse the balls-to-the-wall approach of tracks like “Judgment” and “Dragon Iconography”, songs consisting of overbearing walls of noise which have some sense of cohesion but repeat themselves too much to prove interesting. The tendency for the drumming to be going flat-out for almost the entire album is something which doesn’t really help the quality of the songwriting. The multitude of furious double-bass kicks and countless fills pummel the listener nearly constantly, rarely ever slowing down to show another side to the playing style of not only the drums, but the rest of the band as well.

The fourteen minute closer “Reptilian Majesty” is a perfect summation of the album as a whole; it represents each little detail of Reptilian in one song. The blistering pace gives way to atmospheric synths which transcend to a melodic bridge before wrapping it up with another fast-paced and undeniably heavy verse that fades into dissonant keyboards. That’s really it, though, that is what Reptilian is made up of; a one-trick pony that occasionally rises above to deliver something unexpected and fresh. It’s this tendency of the album to almost transform into something worthwhile before sliding back into mediocrity that makes Reptilian difficult to recommend as a complete package. Sure, there are several songs which are definitely worth a listen, but to say that the entire album is up to the same level is a something that doesn’t prove entirely true.



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user ratings (104)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Magnus Altkula STAFF (3.5)
Reptilian is a solid symphonic black/death metal album, but more importantly, it shows that Keep of ...

related reviews

Armada

Kolossus

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2010


16387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Dark As Moonless Night" is a seriously good song. Album is so hit-or-miss it's not even funny.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Ponton
Emeritus
May 10th 2010


5793 Comments


Whoa, talk about being fast! Good review though, Kyle. I was interested in yours or Styles take on this if he did one, and I guess I'll keep away from it

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2010


16387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks, I've listened to this like 5 times and I can already see myself steering towards only a few tracks. Probably half of this album will never be played again.

bloozclooz
May 10th 2010


1770 Comments


might download it just for that 14 min track

Dryden
May 10th 2010


12928 Comments


why

Yazz_Flute
May 10th 2010


18782 Comments


Read more like a 3.5-4 personally, besides you saying it was a "one-trick pony" etc.

Armada was excellent, their last was very hit-or-miss for me. Might check this out.

Digging: Battles - Mirrored

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2010


16387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ blooz- That song is too long and completely unnecessary IMO but if you want to hear what the album is like then go for it.

Read more like a 3.5-4 personally, besides you saying it was a "one-trick pony" etc.

I guess I didn't emphasize how boring the filler tracks were enough ;)

Hawks
May 10th 2010


35824 Comments


I've never really been too interested in this band. Always got kind of boring to me. I might give a few songs from this a listen or two though.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

rasputin
May 10th 2010


14544 Comments


after reading the review i still have no idea if this is black metal death metal or just some shitty modern melodic metal

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2010


16387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's like a mash of all three really.

rasputin
May 10th 2010


14544 Comments


ah ok

i wasnt ever planning on listening to it anyway, just thought i'd make a comment

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2010


16387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You would completely fucking hate this. I'll probably add something in to say exactly what genres they were trying to go for with this.

bloozclooz
May 10th 2010


1770 Comments


i have their other album. kolossus. couldn't possibly be more boring.

but didn't they have one that looked like a string of warriors standing shoulder to shoulder or something? that one was pretty cool

Zoo
May 10th 2010


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dl'ed this with no intent on listening to it, maybe I will at some point.

Wizard
May 11th 2010


19389 Comments


Kolossus sucked; this sounds worse! Crysis rules; he writes great reviews!

Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2010


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool review man. I liked both Armada and Kolossus, even though the latter didn't have too much replay value, so I'll eventually still check this out.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2010


16387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked both Armada and Kolossus, even though the latter didn't have too much replay value, so I'll eventually still check this out.

Yeah if you liked their previous material I see no reason why you wouldn't like this.

Kolossus sucked; this sounds worse! Crysis rules; he writes great reviews!

Thanks Karl; you would hate this.


Wizard
May 11th 2010


19389 Comments


I want to listen to it cause I need a laugh.

buddhaabdi
May 12th 2010


103 Comments


Bad review man. Armada was a little bit too monotonous and predictable, while Kolossus appeared a little too longbreathed and was lacking riffs and dynamics, Reptilian is the culmination of Keep of Kalessin's brilliant branch of commercial spadeworking riff-driven epic saturnine metal so far without a doubt, at least for my taste, which rules to say the least.

Dryden
May 12th 2010


12928 Comments


A 5 really? A few years back I tried getting into them and didn't like them at all. I don't know much much different this one can be to make it a 5.



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