This is probably the most absurd metal-related story of the year so far. Norwegian black/power metal band Keep of Kalessin have released a new song titled “Introspection” along with a music video. Notably absent from the video is singer Torbjørn “Thebon” Schei; and the vocal duties are handled (quite adeptly) by guitarist Obsidian Claw instead. The band released a statement, explaining that the singer has been lost in an African jungle for the past 5 months. And that’s not even the weird part, trust me.
“We haven’t heard from him in 5 months. He went to South Africa with his girlfriend and we received no life sign or answers to our messages. Instead of waiting it out we just had to move on and I started testing the vocals in the studio myself, realizing my vocals were far from bad. I’ve always been the driving force of the band and I found it to be easier if I just managed to handle the vocals from now on instead of replacing Thebon with someone else. The worst part of this will of course be to do both vocals and guitars live, but it’s all a matter of practice, really. We now feel that this is the way to go and that the band is in fact stronger than ever!”
Fair enough, but that’s not the end of the story! Now it gets really weird. Upon the release of the video, vocalist Thebon seemingly returned from the dead, and issued a counter-statement himself:
“I’m not missing in the jungle, I went to study and relax for three months and did not hear anything from the band in that time. I got a message about a band meeting a week ago, but didn’t reply because I was preoccupied with other projects, and I was deciding if I wanted to continue with KOK. Today I read in a press release that they have recorded new music, and even made a video, and fired me in public at the Inferno Festival. Clearly this proves that they have made their decision about me quite some time ago. This kind of loyalty and friendship is exactly one of the reasons I have been considering leaving the band for quite some time now. I wish them all the best.”
Now, this is quite a bit of he-says-she-says, but it seems that Thebon’s disappearance and lack of contact with the band is true. We obviously don’t know all the facts, but the fact that Thebon isn’t disputing the band’s statement and didn’t contact them for two months after he returned from the jungle is quite telling.
Personally, I can’t fault the band for moving on after nearly half a year after the singer went missing, presumed dead. Also, the new song is pretty cool, and Obsidian C is just as good as good as Thebon on vocals, so all the more power to him. We’ll keep following this issue and post more updates as they become available, but in the meantime, check out the new song!
Credit goes to Garrett P. for bringing this story to my attention.