[Album Review]: Kalodin’s “The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry” (Full Length, 2010)

Posted: March 5, 2011 in Album Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(Originally reviewed for KtmROCKS)

Honestly, I am no big fan of the symphonic metal or black metal thing in general, and have listened to lesser amount of black metal than let’s say, brutal death metal or thrash. Even bands like Emperor and Arcturus fall short to keep me engaged after a listen, whereas Equilibrium (Ger) and Negura Bunget may just do the thing sometime. It’s not about experimentations or the taste, may not even be the hazy old school productions tending to defy modern bedroom brutal death metal for its tendency to fuck a listener’s ears. Thus, considering that Vesania is the one name that instantly comes to my mind when hearing the genre name and Om, I can think of as my favorite album in the subgenre right now, I often lean to seek for the ‘it’ in every other music I listen to, in relation or in comparison to these ‘good’ bands. Saying these, I think the band in hand currently, Kalodin, after having a few listens have hit me hard enough, informing about the sharp existence of the ‘it’. Well…

Kalodin play symphonic metal inclining towards black/death metal with progressive, gothic, traditional heavy metal and power metal constituents also noticeable in their music. All these things jumbled, the final sound crafted could be rather distinctive in itself, like what we’ve been offered here in this LP. Still, the band doesn’t tend to stop here and notifies us about their unconsciousness towards setting boundaries. Wah-wah solos from surface of classic rock n roll… in black metal? Heard before? At least I haven’t (or am I too naïve?). Things are a little stretched from what it would have been otherwise, hence forming a sort of an original version of what it is called symphonic black/death metal. The closest I could match their sound right now is with the Indian monsters, Demonic Resurrection, who had also experimented with the very aforementioned musical styles in precision, to win worldwide attention. I don’t know if there is even any DR influence there in the musicians in actual though.

Now.

The keyboard marks its dominant existence in the release, supplying the general ambience to the songs and forming a melancholic atmosphere throughout. The string ensembles don’t attempt to drown the guitars, and there’s an extent of utter balance and organization between the two – keyboards have their own moments and the guitars have their own. But overall, I can sense it would have been a little barren if the synths were to be erased in entirety. It’s not that there aren’t any keyboard-free parts, and these sound splendid too, like in In Glorificus Luctus…, past the acoustic/ambient phase. At other moments, it’s good enough that the keys have trailed with haunting followings in aid to the strong guitars, without infecting their aura.

Guitars, as said, have their own moments – from interludes and acoustic passages to lead solos – Davin Shakya, the brain of Kalodin, behinds the axes, have composed everything with splendor. There aren’t much chugs and tremolos, setting them apart from the trend of writing an entire black metal song through one-note-thirty-two-hits alone. And the song structures are pretty varied – from complex sounding Forsaken Virgin Demonlord to easy but vigorous Face of War. Technicality isn’t the primarily focused facet as the riffs don’t sound difficult, but one may clearly state where the technicality lurks when a piece like the beginner of Souls of the Dead rolls in. The riffs may also provide similitude with several other bands at times, like the beginner of Forsaken Virgin Demonlord, which may exactly fit in any blackened death era Behemoth album; Necrophiliac contains a certain proportion of gothic (Cradle of Filth, maybe) vibe; while the guitar solo accompanied section near the Face of War opener may adjust in any decent progressive rock/metal song. So saying that this album has something for everyone may not be incorrect. But as said, if you wish to subtract their sound on one band, think of Demonic Resurrection.

Kiew Jay Joel’s vocals have done a big favor to this release. His vocals range from high pitched shrieks, typical in black metal standards, to low Nergal sound-alike death growls, which have only made the things more absorbing. Here is also an inclusion of female vocals, in Interlewd: Into Purity, and it, to a huge level reminded me of Antim Grahan’s similar track When Silence Mourns, especially because of the female vocals, approach of the keyboard and the drum beats. Were the band listening to The Ruin of Immortals while writing this track? May be.

Since Kalodin have no drummer, the drums are programmed here. It’s reasonable enough to have applied this alternative in a circumstance that there’s no drummer in the band and all members are scattered over different regions of the continent. An excuse? I don’t think so. But the programmed drums do not sound artificial at all. If you think machined beatings do not go with this form of music at all, you may want to think it again this time… unless it’s the full-pace double bass part of Souls of the Dead. Yes, you could find plenty of other cases where human beatings have sounded more mechanic than these. Thank the production that it has attempted to make the drums sound as human as possible. Moreover, the album as a whole is produced tremendously and besides, everything has been mixed well so that you could hear every note being hit, even on the bass, which is plainly audible. It seems Davin Shakya knows his shit of how to catch a perfect output for an ideal composition.

All in all, the songwriting is really commendable with loads of delightful moments sealed within. It’s really tough to discern apart better songs from other good ones. One thing, I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I could sense that as the album runs along, the songs turn less brutal and bends more towards melodic harmonies. Progressive tendencies?

So The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry may be one of the finest releases in symphonic black metal I’ve heard recently, and is also likely to go well with the followers of any other metal subgenre than that. But if you’re a brutal DM extremist or something like that, then why are you even reading this anyway?

Stand-out Tracks:
Forsaken Virgin Demonlord
Dark Whisperer
Souls of the Dead

8/10

…and did I say that I am still chuckling at the album title and the artwork? Haha.

– Samyam Shrestha

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