Thursday, June 04, 2009

Quick Review: Keep of Kalessin - Armada

I enjoyed Keep of Kalessin's Kolossus last year - and have continued to do so this year - so much that I decided to risk a trip further into their catalog.  My selection was Armada, which like Kolossus has the trappings - if not the outright thread - of a concept album and comes replete with a bad ass cover of a spear-bearing army.  I'm now nearly done with my fourth listen and while I enjoy the sound, compared to Kolossus it's definitely a lesser album that stands best as suggesting the trajectory of where the band ended up going two years later.  In particular, the variation that makes Kolossus such an enjoyable ride - I'm thinking "The Rising Sign" as a particularly good example - is less prevalent on Armada, with Keep of Kalessin instead choosing to rely more on standard black metal idioms that vary only just enough to keep the music interesting without really being innovative.  Black metal purists would probably call Armada closer to tr00 form, but you know what?  Fuck 'em; Keep of Kalessin is a much more interesting band when they push boundaries.

My take: if you're a fan, Armada is good addition to the collection.  If you're new to the group, check out Kolossus first.

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