Published: September 14, 2011
So much black metal is as airless as a coffin, and of course, that is often precisely the point. And yeah, no serious kvlt type takes Krallice seriously as serious-cubed black metal. But a growing cult of open-eared metalheads and noobs have embraced Mick Barr and Colin Marston’s twin-guitar pick-fanning heroics. With third album Diotima, Krallice advances its own BM-influenced heaviness agenda with the kind of spacious (and nondogmatic) touches that can only open more ears and blow more minds.
Right from the, uh, “Intro,” Diotima deploys its secret weapon: melody. Melody buried in waves of amp wash and rhythm-section cannonade, but melody nonetheless defines the 12-minute-plus “The Clearing,” not the dueling roars of the vocalists (Barr and bassist Nick McMaster). “Telluric Rings” gets downright shoegaze-y, slowing to merely frenetic and floating all sorts of melodic tendrils and switchbacking riffs as McMaster and drummer Lev Weinstein relentlessly lash the streamlined track forward. Meanwhile, the title track’s relatively stately tempo not only changes up the usual blur, it boasts drop-out breaks, little moments of breathing room that allow the band to hit that much harder when it comes back in like a black-metal gunslinger mowing ’em down.
And then there’s “Litany of Regrets.” Barr and Marston stagger the usual BM wrist-piston riffing ever so slightly to create a tremolo effect that makes eardrums and brain tissues oscillate like overtaxed speaker woofers while McMaster and Weinstein bash away hardcore-style in the background like they’re charging hard to claim themselves heirs to the Darkthrone throne. A small change, the usual thing moved a hair off center, and it’s a whole new world. Metal, and music in general, could use more of that.
Krallice plays the Golden West Cafe Sept. 16 with Urfaust and Black Anvil.
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