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Keep Of Kalessin: Armada

The seeds of Norway's Keep Of Kalessin were sown back in 1994 by guitarist Obsidian C (who is also a member of Satyricon). After a few releases for the Italian label Avantgarde Music, the group's lineup split and the band remained in limbo for a few years until Obsidian managed to put the pieces back together. When he hooked up with Satyricon he encouraged their drummer Frost to play on Keep's Reclaim EP which came out in 2004. This lineup wouldn't last long mainly due to logistics but Obsidian stuck to his guns and got together the most recent lineup in time to release an absolutely brutal CD of black metal mayhem called Armada which is released through Candlelight Records in the US.

After a brief instrumental opening, complete with the sounds of a fleet of boats coming ashore, called "Surface" the disc begins proper with a 7 minute rapid fire epic called "Crown Of The Kings", which is a mix of blast beats and heavy, melodic guitar work. The third track "The Black Uncharted" continues where "Kings" left off; another fast paced number with some great memorable riffs from Obsidian and clean but absolutely evil sounding vocals courtesy of Thebon. The catch in this track is the surprise acoustic section midway in, which eventually reverts back to the songs main theme. By the time you reach the 5th number, the absolutely crushing "Many Are We" it's apparent that you have stumbled upon perhaps the finest black metal slab of the year. "Winged Watcher" and "Into The Fire" continue on in the same vein, with fast and precise drumming from Vyl who proves throughout this disc that he definitely belongs in the upper echelon of metal's elite. Armada is packed to the hilt full of some of the finest and most distinct sounding performances that I've heard to date in the black / death metal field. The bands use of varying tempos and layered atmospheres distances themselves quite a bit from the rest of the pack of imitators. The overall sound and attack is relentless, unforgiving and most importantly never derivative. Armada is an early candidate for metal album of the year.

Track Listing
1) Surface
2) Crown Of The Kings
3) The Black Uncharted
4) Vengeance Rising
5) Many Are We
6) Winged Watcher
7) Into The Fire
8) Deluge
9) The Wealth of Darkness
10) Armada

Added: May 23rd 2006
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Official Site
Hits: 3694
Language: english

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