Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology (Indie Recordings)

Tuesday, 24th February 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

Now that the dust has long settled on the controversial Eurovision contest and “The Dragontower,” Keep of Kalessin have finally returned (not counting the Introspection EP that is). However, those who remember the strange circumstances of the firing of vocalist Thebon know that the band is now acting as a three piece, with Obsidian Claw now handling the vocal duties in addition to his guitar.

Epistemology shows Keep of Kalessin as being on top of their game. The band’s sound has evolved over the years, and this does seem like a logical stepping point from Reptilian. Keep of Kalessin’s hyper-speed blackened extreme metal with progressive melodies does pair nicely with their previous album. There are some clear power metal influences at times, but it’s nothing the band hasn’t dabbled in before. The blistering and frenzied riffs have been Keep of Kalessin’s claim to fame over the years, and tracks like “Dark Divinity,” “The Grand Design,” and “Universal Core” will deliver what fans enjoy most. Then there are the sweeping melodies, such as on “The Spiritual Relief” and the title track that never fail to engage the listener. Even at lengthy runtimes, the songs conistently entice and there never feels like there is a wasted moment.

Those worried about the lack of Thebon should be able to rest easy as well. It’s a practical move that Obsidian Claw took the vocal reigns, as he had been writing the lines over the years anyway. Turns out his vocals are pretty great as well. Going from blackened screams to chants to soaring cleans, he easily adapts to the band’s varied structures. It will undoubtedly be impressive to catch him performing the intricate guitar lines while singing live.

While some may argue its “black metal” merit, particularly with the amount of clean vocals, Epistemology is just as engaging an affair as the band’s previous efforts. The dragon masters continue to shift form while retaining what makes the band tick.

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