Company: Candlelight USA Release: 2006 Reviewer: Grim Gaijin Genre: Black
We are all battle-bound from start to finish on this metal masterpiece
Thank the Metal Gods for unleashing Keep of Kalessin upon this Earth! This relentless Black Metal quartet from Trondheim, Norway continues to attack the metal masses with their 2006 release Armada. Rightfully titled, it seems as if we are all battle-bound from start to finish on this metal masterpiece. Whether they are touring with Behemoth or Dimmu Borgir or displaying their talents at past Trondheim Jazz festivals, Keep of Kalessin's brand of sharply played, tight-knit black metal is sure to keep the heads banging (and hair rolling) for many years to come.
The intro rolls in slowly like an Armada of soldiers waiting to attack a brigade of enemies at any given moment. The attack finally happens when Crown Of The Kings breaks through and destroys at a lightning pace with piercing riffs and dizzying blast beats. Sounding much like Anthems to the Welkins at Dusk-era Emperor, Crown Of The Kings contains some of the best melodic riffs recorded, as well as demonstrating the many vocal talents of Thebon. The next song, The Black Uncharted, continues the urgency of Armada with more inhuman riffs and blazing blast beats. Incorporating more clean vocals in the mix, the comparisons to early Emperor continue. The song takes a small break in favor of an acoustic passage that leads to a huge buildup that crushes with the final few minutes of the song. The next song, Vengeance Rising, has to be the most insane song on the album. With the guitar riffs reaching near-impossible speeds and double bass drumming that would make most drum machines smoke, Vengeance Rising is a true test of skill and talent that many great bands would have a hard time duplicating. Many Are We starts with a melodic (but fast) riff that has more of a choppy feel vice having just the speed riffs only. The next song, Winged Watcher is a slower number but equally as crushing as the rest of the album. With several acoustic parts, Keep Of Kalessin show another side of their Black Metal wizardry. The next song, Into The Fire, is interesting because the beginning riff is very similar to the riff in Many Are We. Although the majority of the song is completely different, they should have changed the beginning riff up a bit. Next comes Deluge, a short guitar instrumental that builds up as sort of an intro to The Wealth Of Darkness. Wealth is another blindingly speedy song that has the power to become a black metal anthem. The final song, Armada, is an epic masterpiece that showcases the many talents of Keep of Kalessin. With traces of early Emperor blended with World Funeral-era Marduk, Keep of Kalessin definitely make a true statement of their loyalty and devotion to the Black Metal elite.
For metal fans that loved Emperor during their Anthems to the Welkins at Dust and IX Equilibrium days, Keep of Kalessin is the band for you. With their 3rd full-length studio recording, Armada, setting the standard for modern black metal, Keep Of Kalessin have earned a spot amongst the black metal elite. Those of you that have already heard Armada are probably curious as to how they will top it with their next release - Kolossos, due out in June. Until then, Armada will continue to be a very satisfying release.
About this Writer: David Loveless // Dave's early introduction to Metal was listening to records by Black Sabbath and Kiss. Discovering Metallica's Master of Puppets on record at the local public library turned his world upside down. After spending nearly 24 years in Japan and expanding his love for the International underground metal scene, Dave (and family) now resides in the US. The savage brutality of Extreme Metal brings out the "Grim Gaijin" in him.
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