Sound: 'Kolossus' can be well considered in direct connection with the previous 'Armada', both musically and lyrically. Again, it's characterized by a black metal solid basis with oriental and mediterranean influences, with many acoustic and melodic sections, as well as blasting ferocious parts. The lyrics again deal with reigns, rulers, slaves, serpents and warfare, and they're really well supported by the evocative, melodic and powerful songs.
Another important feature is the production of 'Kolossus': perfect! Maybe, too much perfect! The sound is crystal clear, the mixing is perfect with no instrument overdoing the other, but maybe the guitar sound is not as 'crunchy' as one could expect. Anyway, great performance by all the musicians, especially (obviously) Obsidian C., but with great regard also to singer Thebon and drummer Vyl. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are not very far from those of the previous album, but they're more original and various. All the lyrics are narrated in 'first person', thus engrossing the reader into the tales of the New Empire of the Kolossus! In fact, the Kolossus is the new ruler of an imaginary 'Kingdom built with flames', he is the life of this kingdom, and feels the right to rule it hardly but justly. This reign is reached through various passages, as the complete denial of adoration for others ('Against The Gods')or brutal warfare ('Warmonger'). A peculiar lyric is that of 'The Mark Of Power', in which a father makes his son aware of his destiny of dominion. Very enthralling and original!
The lyrics are perfectly assumed by Thebon who skips from screaming, to growling and melodic singing with no apparent difficulty. There are many recited parts, as in 'Armada', which emphasise the pathos of the lyrics ('Against The Gods', 'The Mark Of Power'). As characteristic since 'Armada', the lyrics are perfectly suited to the music: the theatrical vocation of Keep Of Kalessin comes out deeply in all the songs, and especially 'Kolossus', 'Agains The Gods' and 'Ascendant', in which the melodic and recited parts are musically the most epic and evocative. // 8
Overall Impression: Keep Of Kalessin, since their 'new deal' begun with the 2006 album 'Armada', can be considered out of comparison with any other band. Their originality goes further than inserting new elements in a genre. To tell the truth, they do not create new things, they simply deal perfectly with a lot of kinds of music, merging them perfectly, thus building musical monuments of incredible beauty. The structure of the songs vary from the classic 'verse-chorus-break-chorus' to other more complex ones, witnessing a complete control on the composing process. Riffs are original, but always very melodic, with a lot of chords and engrossing rythms; Obsidian C.'s style is known for being very personal, and his skills are undeniable listening to this! The whole album makes an impression of great dynamics, that means in this case the ability to pass from very low and atomospheric moments to basting and violent ones without losing credibility or interest. A shimmering example of this is 'The Rising Sign', with it's central piano-and-orchestra break: unbeliavable. This song can be well considered as the most impressing, but it stands not much higher than the others. Another outstanding example of compising skill is the titletrack, very fast and atmospheric, with brass sections which take one's breath out...
Again, fundamental is the role of Vyl on drums: his fastness and technicality give a great solidity to the songs, his endurance is incredilble, his speed too. He never mistakes, he never falters, perfect.
But the most outstanding element of KoK which sets them over all the other bands is the vocals, which are used in a broader way: they're obviously always aggressive and 'dirty', but there are a lot of melodic parts, which is not common in the Black Metal genre. Then again the recited parts give a great emotional rank to many songs, creating a 'tragedy' effect on the listener!
To conclude, this record is undeniable for anyone who loves extreme music 'with a sense of being', and to anyone who loves music in general, because here there's a great deal of 'Music' in it's main sense. Great! A New Birth for Black Metal! // 10