Released: Feb 16, 2015
Genre: Melodic Black Metal, Progressive Black Metal
Label: Indie Recordings
Number Of Tracks: 8
With each album, Keep Of Kalessin has continued to step farther and farther away from their initial sound and add more and more clean vocals and melody.
EpistemologyFeatured review by: UG Team, on february 24, 2015 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Keep Of Kalessin initially formed in 1993 as a Norwegian Black Metal band, though that "incarnation" of the band dissolved in 2000. In 2003, founding member, Obsidian C., reformed the band with a new lineup for an EP titled "Reclaim." This resulted in Obsidian C. eventually reforming the band permanently, once again with all new members except himself, in 2005. The band has remained active since the time, though their sound is not remotely the same as their earlier material. They have been called black metal, death metal, melodic death metal, and thrash metal - I would personally just call their genre extreme metal. "Epistemology" is the name of their sixth full-length studio album. The word "epistemology" means the study of knowledge, which is an interesting title and subject for an album. There are 10 tracks with an approximate runtime of 56 minutes.
The album opens up with "Cosmic Revelation (Intro)," which is essentially a minute of a choir going "ah." The next track is "The Spiritual Relief" which opens up with a blast beat, tremolo picking and clean vocals singing in harmony... yep, clean vocals in harmony. Of course, this is a 9 minute track so you get a lot of different things out of it - clean vocals, some growlier vocals, an awesome guitar solo, and some epic keyboard stuff. "Dark Divinity" is the second album track and it comes out swinging, heavy music, growled/screamed vocals and some atonality and dissonance - and it clocks in at over 7 minutes! Next is "The Grand Design" (another track over 7 minutes), which opens with a simple yet epic melody but it moves on to a blast beat and heavy guitars and some of the most classically black metal vocals on the album. "Necropolis" seems much more like a thrash metal song than the rest of the album up to this point. The solo is a slower, more laid back solo, which destroys the feeling of this being a thrash metal song, to some extent. "Universal Core" is a fairly straightforward song, musically, with a blast beat being played on drums and some death growled vocals, but the "chorus" is sang with much cleaner vocals. "Introspection" opens up with some choir "aahs," but when the guitar and drums come in... this is easily my favorite song on the album. The guitar solo is also the most engaging song on the album. The title track, "Epistemology," has some more traditional black metal vocals, and some of the most lyrics on the album. The track also has a very traditional thrash-style guitar solo. "Anima Mund" is only about 2 minutes long which feels VERY short on an album with several songs over 7 minutes. "Anima Mund" makes use of some chanted vocals, a weird drum pattern, and even a little mini thrash guitar solo. The album closes out with the track "Novae Ruptis," which is a weird type of track - the vocals sound like they're being rapped almost, but in a black metal growl. Overall, this was a very interesting album to listen to. // 8
Lyrics: Obsidian C. has taken over vocal duties since Torbjørn "Thebon" Schei left the band in 2013. Wizziac is credited with providing backing vocals. There is a lot of versatility to the vocal delivery on this album, and it definitely keeps things interesting to me. The screams and growls have a lot of variety in them, and as well there is a lot of variety in the cleaner singing. The backing vocals are used tastefully. I wouldn't say that Obsidian C. is the strongest vocalist ever, but he does seem to have a good grasp of how to use his voice to further the song. As a sample of the lyrics from the album, here are some from "Introspection": "I cannot unsee this misery/ tearing in me/ losing contact with reality/ paranoid and persecutory delusions/ claim the essence of mentality/ I will not submit to fear/ I've come too far/ I'm in too deep/ venturing the unknown/ the victors fate is mine alone/ see beyond the boundaries/ break your confinement/ open up your dogmatic mind/ man overboard, a lifetime reward/ a life lived in hate would just seal your own fate/ unchain the mental elements/ cast out the vile contaminants/ thrown into the oceans of your fears." I do enjoy that most of the lyrics are actually trying to get a point across and make you think, when a lot of lyrics in the genre seem to be focused on just being dark or shocking. // 8
Overall Impression: This is a fun album to listen to. The musicianship is formidable, the mixing/engineering is good, and the ideas are interesting. The subject matter is definitely on the "heavy" side, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. My favorite track on the album is "Introspection" because the guitar and drums are immaculate. I was glad to see the drummer had some substance and could do something creative besides the blast beats that start to wear on me, but I guess a lot of people really enjoy blast beats in their metal... frequently. There was a lot to like about this album, despite my complaints about some of the drumming. And to be clear, the drummer, Vyl, is awesome - I'm just not as fond of blast beats as a lot of people seem to be. // 8