Years Past Matter
Black metal is a curious beast; it can either be really beautiful and transcend the five senses we are born with and expose us to new pleasures previously unknown, or it can unlock seething vitriol and hatred, eschewing the misanthrope, violence, and racism for which the genre is notorious. Whatever the case, it’s easily one of the most controversial and centralized of all metal sub-genres. Every brand has its clique: trve kvlt, atmospheric, post, experimental, progressive, etc. All of these separate sub-sections stay within their limits, and so do the fans. Now there are some exceptions to the rule, of course, and there will always be overlap for those who love all metal, but as a whole metal fans — and fans of music in general — tend stick to their own little sphere. Krallice fall in the gray area; an area in which all boundaries are knocked down and the music encompasses far more genres and influences than ever thought.
Having churned out record after record since 2008, this Brooklyn based band are among the upper echelon in the USBM scene, and their last record Diotima received rave reviews, both from other publications and this site as well. What really sets them apart is their ability to create many different layers simply by using their instruments, and nothing else. Their commitment to recording songs as jams that are “final” is something to be admired, even if it it is not entirely consistent — in an interview, Lev Weinstein said himself that they had material used on Diotima written when they did their self-titled debut album. This record shows Krallice staying exactly where they are; which isn’t a bad thing in the slightest. From the start their mission has always been to create emotionally evocative black metal with an experimental tinge to it. This sounds like their last record, and the two before it, not because the songs sound the same, but because the elements that make Krallice who they are have always been present.
Years Past Matter expands on the idea that the tremolo isn’t overused in the slightest. There’s only a few spots on the record where there isn’t any tremolo picking, which is a nice touch. The fact that Krallice uses that technique differently on every album is another thing to be admired. Its a difficult and tenuous practice to reinvent a technique on every release. They never really play the same notes over again on the album. Each song has its own unique path that it takes from the start, and whether or not it ends up in the same place is up to the band. The album’s closer “IIIIIIIIIIII’ is very Led Zeppelin-esque in the manner that it goes on a separate tangent and ends far away from where it started. In fact, this trend has become even more prominent over Krallice’s career and discography, and to much avail.
Speaking of songs: what the hell is up with these song titles? Is there some sort of meaning, or was the “I” key the only working one on the computer they were using? Whatever the case, as long as it doesn’t detract from the songs, it’s no big deal.
The thing about this record that will be sure to tickle any Krallice fan’s fancy is the fact that the songs average around 10 minutes, minus the interlude before the 16-minute opus that is the closer. Everything about this record screams great. The vocals have significantly improved; not to take away from their last outing, but at times the vocals seemed to be placed in the wrong place, or Nick would be doing vocals over a part where Mick should be, etc. On this record, they worked out minor kinks and found their balance between the two, and corrected those various positioning errors explained before.
As a whole, this record will surely satisfy fans of the band, though if you’re not a fan, it won’t do anything for you. This is the same Krallice you got in 2008, and 2009, and even in 2011. In essence, it’s a glorious thing. Many bands lose their touch after a few records, but as of right now, Krallice are still on top of their game, continuously putting out punishing black metal that is sure to make any fan raise those horns, head bang when necessary, and let their bodies move to the music. Krallice have proven with this record that creating timeless black metal records is a specialty of theirs, and that while not touring their new release, they will continue to write and release some of the best USBM there is to offer.
Krallice – Years Past Matter gets…