EP Review: Keep Of Kalessin ”“ Introspection
The Norwegian black metal band’s new EP suggests that the metallers are taking to a new sound
[easyreview cat1title = Â Introspection cat1rating = 3]
The latest EP from Norwegian black metal band Keep of Kalessin is actually a single with two other songs thrown in for good measure. If you’re not a black metal purist, Introspection hits the spot. While Keep of Kalessin plays an intelligent mix of friendly, melodic metal with harsh black metal, this short-length release is indicative of a different direction the band is taking, leaning more towards melodic metal.
Formed in 1993, the band’s previous release was their full-length album ReptilianÂ in 2010, their last with vocalist TorbjÃ¸rn Schei aka Thebon, who left the band earlier this year. There’s a quirky comment from guitarist and frontman Obsidian Claw about Schei leaving the band that caught our attention: “Thebon seems to have disappeared in the African jungle. We haven’t heard from him in 5 months. He went to South Africa with his girlfriend and we received no life sign or answers to our messages.”Â
For this EP, principal songwriter Arnt GrÃ¸nbech aka Obsidian Claw aka Obsidian C. took over vocal duties. He throws in mediocre riffs and guitar solo gimmickry on the title track “Introspection,” which is the main attraction on the EP, but performs better on vocals ”“ both with the metal growls and clean singing. But if you pay attention to the growled lyrics, you’ll be disappointed in the cheesiness of “I feel like I’m lost in this reality/I just want to know, is this my destiny?”
Obsidian C. does good in stepping away from the mic for the next song, an instrumental, balls-out guitar-solo-led song called “Flight of the Hatchling.” Keep of Kalessin create an “extreme version” of “The Dragontower,” originally off Reptilian, which was clearly one of the most popular songs. “The Dragontower” was the band’s official entry and winner of Melodi Grand Prix, the TV music competition to select the Norwegian entry for European song competition Eurovision. There’s more double bass, and a change in tempo compared to the original song that won over most of Norway, but it’s hard to tell why it’s a part of the EP.
Introspection gives a brief glimpse into the new, Obsidian-led beginning for Keep of Kalessin. There isn’t much to the title track, but it remains to be seen how one of the most popular black metal bands in Norway will play through on longer releases.Â