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Album Review

Some black metal and death metal bands fly so far under the radar (at least outside of black metal/death metal circles) that they can reach their tenth or 12th anniversary and still hear the question, "Is this a new band?" When Candlelight distributed Armada in the United States in 2006, some American headbangers asked that question in relation to Keep of Kalessin. But no, Kalessin is not a new band; they have been around since 1994, and this 49-minute CD demonstrates that the Norwegian black metal outfit is worth getting to know. Although not groundbreaking or terribly original, Kalessin provides noteworthy black metal with a strong thrash influence. Clearly, Armada is mindful of black metal's punk, thrash, and hardcore heritage, and this album favors a rawness and a toughness that acknowledges black metal's humble beginnings. But Armada is not a carbon copy of early black metal; Kalessin is more polished, although not polished to the point of being symphonic black metal. Armada achieves a balance; Kalessin's performances are punkier and more "street" than those of a symphonic black metal band, but this album is chops-minded (there is no doubt that these guys can play their instruments well) and relatively melodic. Although not as elaborate as symphonic black metal recordings, Armada is far from an exercise in bombast for the sake of bombast. Kalessin, like so many extreme metal bands, has had their share of personnel changes along the way; here the lineup includes founder/guitarist Obsidian Claw (of Satyricon fame), lead singer Thebon, bassist Wizziac, and drummer Vyl, and this lineup has delivered an album that, although not quite a five-star masterpiece, is still a decent and well-executed footnote in the Nordic black metal scene.

Customer Reviews

Bringing something new and crazy to the table

Some bands are good, and get well recognized quickly. Others, such as Keep of Kalessin, are less known, but GREAT. Armada features blazing speed through unreal riffs and inhuman drumming. A furious assault of sound from Crown of the Kings to Armada makes this album a must have for any black metal fan. But thrash metal fans willing to take a few steps up the intensity ladder may enjoy this as well, because despite the shrieks and borderline dangerous speed, it definitely sports a healthy amount of thrash influence. There are SO many more things about this album to be said, but I want to leave it up to you to decide what those things are. But no matter who you are, I'll say two things.

1. Having listened to Reptilian, Kolossus, and this, I can safely say that Armada is by far the best.
2. Go into this with an open mind; it is NOT your typical black metal.

A few tracks I highly recommend are:
-Crown of the Kings
-Vengeance Rising
-Winged Watcher

These guys have a lot of unrecognized talent, and I hope that as time goes on, more people realize that.

Follow me on Ping for the latest or greatest metal.

Keep of Kalessin

One ov the best metal bands I have heard, the drums are brutal and the vocals are unreal

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

During their first incarnation, Norway's Keep of Kalessin were comprised of vocalist Ghâsh, guitarist/keyboardist Obsidian C., bassist Warach, and drummer Vyl, and released a pair of quite competent -- but also rather typical -- Scandinavian black metal albums in 1997's Through Times of War and 1999's Agnen: A Journey Through the Dark. Neither LP made much of an impact outside the extreme metal scene itself, and so the bandmembers went their separate ways, as Obsidian C. (real name Arnt Grønbech)...
Full Bio
Armada, Keep of Kalessin
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Customer Ratings

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