Keep of Kalessin
Reptilian


3.5
great

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
June 8th, 2010 | 31 replies | 13,071 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Reptilian is a solid symphonic black/death metal album, but more importantly, it shows that Keep of Kalessin have got potential for big things in the future as long as they keep perfecting their formula

With Armada, in 2006, Keep of Kalessin steadily started to move away from their pure black metal roots, adding more death metal-y parts and melodic guitar lines to their sound. This trend was further accentuated on their 2008 album Kolossus, where they didn't even sound like a black metal band anymore - the album was more like a one of a kind crossbreed between death and black metal, with even a hint of melodeath thrown in for good measure. Reptilian solidifies that the style exhibited on Kolossus is indeed the direction the band are moving in the long run. Being a good collection of symphonic black metal songs mixed with death metal and featuring a supplementary dose of melody, Reptilian is a solid addition to the band’s discography.

On Reptilian, the band have made two strong steps forward compared to Kolossus. They've definitely improved the overall package, bringing us a much more cohesive and refined package this time around, as Reptilian is a solid listen in one sitting while Kolossus dragged and was bogged down by its somewhat monotonous atmosphere and riffing. Keep of Kalessin have also kicked up the melodies this time around, which sound a lot fuller and thought-out. There are plenty of great harmonizations and enjoyable guitar leads to be found here. There is one problem Reptilian faces though - it can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be a standard symphonic black/death metal album, or a somewhat experimental extreme metal album. While I did say the album is solid when listened to in one piece, and I wasn’t lying, you get the sense the band didn't quite know what they were opting for with the final product. Out of the eight songs presented here, four of them sound experimental (to some extent) while the other four sound like the band were playing it a little safe. And while there isn’t any conspicuous filler here, the listener is left with a feeling that Reptilian could’ve been much more, as it’s the more experimental songs that really do the trick here.

"Dragon Iconography" opens up the album well, and while it isn’t anything extraordinary, it’s a strong song with a memorable main riff and added strings. It is followed by "The Awakening" – first of the somewhat experimental songs – which exhibits the band's rather successful attempts to craft a memorable, but also versatile long song. Other highlights (read: experimental songs) include the 14-minute powerhouse "Reptilian Majesty", which is in fact a very strong attempt by the band to craft a timeless epic, and "The Dragontower", which is a fun, folkish song with a good amount of cheese and a catchy chorus. The latter was also the band’s pick for Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix contest - a competition where Norway's Eurovision entry is selected - where Keep of Kalessin achieved a respectable third place. Nothing, nothing can rival one concrete track on this album though, and that is "Dark As Moonless Night".

What makes that cut so great, is how Keep of Kalessin finally manage to create a dark, ecumenical atmosphere that encases the rest of the song into its firm grip – something that was missing on Kolossus and is also lacking on Reptilian if we additionally count out "Reptilian Majesty" too. To add to that, the lead guitar churns out some fabulous melodies over the thick, doom-tempoed wall-of-sound backing. The culmination of the song comes in its ascending chorus though, which demonstrates the guitars, vocals and the atmosphere in perfect harmony.

In the end, Reptilian comes off as somewhat of a mixed album. While it is definitely a solid record through and through, it does feature some outstanding cuts that are heads and shoulders above the rest, namely "Dark As Moonless Night" and "Reptilian Majesty". This only proves that the band definitely have what it takes to create a true masterpiece. Now all they have to do is fully utilize their potential. Nevertheless, Reptilian is still a solid symphonic black/death metal album, and well-worth listening to, even if it has its small drawbacks.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010



8321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album comes out today in North America, but it's been out in Europe for some time now.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010



16299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Looks like you took more out of this than I did. I thought it was surprisingly good considering I dislike the band's other albums, but it still isn't worth more than a 3 in my book.

Nothing, nothing can rival one concrete song on this album though, and that song is "Dark As Moonless Night".

123 that song is easily the best on the album.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010



8321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah I can safely say I definitely like this quite a bit

EDIT: and yes, I absolutely love that song

SCREAM!
June 8th 2010



10024 Comments


Nicely written as per usual for you. Think ill pass here though.

Digging: Old Witch - Come Mourning Come

jingledeath
June 8th 2010



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

How the hell is the average rating for this still a 4? Cool review bro.

Nagrarok
June 8th 2010



8170 Comments


Oooh, it's a dragon. Pos'd as per usual Magnus.

Zip
June 8th 2010



5312 Comments


You listen to black metal now?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010



8321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys and Zip, I must still say that the answer is no. This is like half-black, yeah, but it's definitely not the black metal guys like Irad, rasp, Dryden, Count, Crysis etc. listen to

ShadowRemains
June 8th 2010



20479 Comments


nice review as per normal

what do the vocals sound like?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010



8321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

vocals vary between raspy cleans, raspy yells and screaming.

ShadowRemains
June 8th 2010



20479 Comments


damn

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010



8321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol

Fugue
June 8th 2010



7352 Comments


Cool review dude.

Bleekill
June 9th 2010



832 Comments


Atrocious cover art. I also dislike this band but it's a nice positive review.

cjgone
June 9th 2010



764 Comments


I like the guitar work, the vocals are a little mediocre though.

Raz0rGrind23
June 11th 2010



422 Comments


This is my first outing with these guys and so far I'm really not too impressed. Great review though.

Styles,
Is this their best offering or am I better off starting with one of their earlier releases?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2010



8321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Out of the last 3 albums I would suggest you listen to Armada. I don't know which I prefer (this or Armada), but by sound that one was more bombastic, heavy and all-around colossal.

If you're into black metal though then definitely start with their first albums. They were straight out black metal (the 2 first ones + the Ep), but since Armada these guys have been mixing it up by adding influences of other styles into their albums.

Raz0rGrind23
June 11th 2010



422 Comments


Yah, I'm definitely not into too much black metal. I'll give Armada a spin. Thank ya

Zip
June 12th 2010



5312 Comments


I would probably like this more if there was no clean singing and all the songs were about 30-50 bpm faster

botb
June 12th 2010



9628 Comments


the cover is so cheesy but so awesome



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