|Review: Keep of Kalessin - Reptilian|
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year released: 2010
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: July 10, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.14/5 (62.86%) (21 Votes)
I've been hearing about Keep of Kalessin for years, most comments good, so I was looking forward to finally checking them out for the first time. Well, I sure hope the previous albums are better, because this one here is kind of underwhelming, when not utterly lost as far as the genre goes. This is supposed to be Black Metal, right?
Most of this is very melodic Black Metal, often with a symphonic touch and it's not too bad, though often leaning more into commercial territory. It's nothing we haven't heard before – this stuff was big and we overdosed on it in the early 2000s. Fast-paced with a wall of drumming, vocals in-between harsh and clean that get old quick, that kind of stuff. There are some good melodies here, but then at some point you stop and say "this is not Black Metal at all."
Reptilian even flirts with Power Metal at times. That's right, Power Metal. Clean vocals, pompous symphonics, somewhat positive-sounding music all around. I actually had to check that a couple of songs were actually part of this album and I hadn't put them there by mistake or something (with mp3 promos, you never know.) "Dark as Moonless Night" has some harsh vocals but really sound more like a power ballad. "The Divine Land" could fit as a fast-paced track on an album by some of the more aggressive Power Metal bands. Seriously, I don't know many Black Metal fans who would stand for this – unless they're Power Metal fans as well, and even then – let's not mix things up!
Still, even though Reptilian sounds at times rehashed, at times like an out-of-genre experience, the actual music is decent – it's not like the guys can't play, and it does have its moments. But taken as a whole, there's just something wrong here. I guess I'll have to dig into their back catalogue to see what the fuss was about.
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