Krallice – Krallice (Profound Lore Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

A kewl, kinda neato combo here: the combined instrumental talents of Mick Barr (Ocrilm, Orthelem) and Colin Marston (Behold…the Arctopus, Dysrhythmia) collide in a primal BM venture that is part homage to genre’s glory days and other part forward-thinking, stunningly melodic BM that we’re rarely treated to. Not your typical basement BM affair, Krallice’s self-titled debut quickly skirts up the US black metal ranks with a six-song stormer that is as frenetic and memorable as anything to pop out of the underground the last 12 months.

Beyond those massive melodies (more on those in a bit), Krallice is characterized heavily by rolling, semi-repetitive song structures and a warm and entirely audible production job. When the band stumbles upon a good idea, as in the breathtaking main riff of “Cuestorial,” it sticks with it, but never runs the thing into the ground. “Cuestroial” is in fact yours truly’s pick for black metal jam of 2008; it’s weaving, winding melodic structure has rarely been integrated so well into non-symphonic black metal.

Elsewhere, more carefully-crafted, striking melodies appear in “Energy Chasms” and the bombastic closing to “Forgiveness In Rot,” where a flashy melodic run courtesy of Barr gets the ‘ole run through about three dozens times, never wearing out its welcome.

Indeed it is the caustic combination of occasional dissonance and melody that makes Krallice such a winner. Barr and Marston’s riff choices capture a cerebral sonic depth that goes past simple old-school BM worship – their grip on how to write a sprawling number without getting bogged down with the usual grim and necro run-around tactics is something to marvel.

Already hitting the live circuit, Krallice appears to be more than just a side project and with a batch of tunes this solid and well-constructed, there should be no stopping these guys. Highly recommend, essential, etc. and so forth –Krallice is the USBM album of the year.

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