Here is one of the indelible facts of music: as time moves on, that which is considered heavy, experimental, ground breaking, or any other choice of adjective which is used to denote the “novel”, will wear thin its welcome. Progressive and psychedelic rock is a fantastic example. There were days when Pink Floyd, King Crimson and their ilk were considered heavy. Our parents bought them to be rebellious, to signify pushing the envelope, to go faster, louder, and heavier than the generations that had come before. Today, that notion seems to us as quaint. Music has gone faster, louder, and heavier than both of those bands and their genres. This is no slight on those artists of course, just an inescapable fact of how feedback loops work.
And yet, some form of heaviness or extremity will always remain in that music, right? Personally, I still find works like The Piper At the Gates of Dawn or King Crimson’s proto-metal riffs to be incredibly effective and impactful. The old styles still have merit, we just need to rethink and re-conceptualize them, whether by changing what we go to them for or by modernizing their sound. This latter approach is the fuel which makes the furious engine of Kaleidobolt go. The Helsinki-based band are all about delving the depths of psychedelic and progressive rock and coming back with only the rawest and deepest cuts possible.
The first single from the album, “I Am the Seer” is a perfect example. Who among us can stay aloof in the face of the monstrously thick opening riff of the track? The guitar tone is absolutely absurd in its size, seemingly ready to full apart at the seams at any point. The bass, of course, reacts in kind and spreads its mighty hands far and wide to “catch” and back this tone, together creating the mainstay of the track. The drums have a deep, rich tone to them, the kick drum bordering at just the right distance from sounding muffled. The track dips into numerous choruses and verses before breaking apart into a King Crimson-esque segment of almost-improvisation, guitars and bass dodging and dancing around each other with alarming dexterity and agility.
Other moments on the album, like the following “Deadpan Blues” or the previous “Big Sky Land” dial back the chunky fuzz for a “wider” more “open” kind of sound. In these moments Kaleidobolt are more folky, though groovy riffs are never too far from their quiver. But the “brighter” timber utilized on these tracks gives the tracks their own unique sound; when the bass is inserted underneath them (with the cymbals crashing on top), they appeal to a whole different type of psychedelic sensibility. Speed, power, and momentum are always paid tribute to but, in the spaces created by the production and the different tones of the instruments (with synths often also added to these spaces) there’s a whole breadth of expression.
All of this makes Bitter one hell of a challenging listening experience. The album is mixed loud, the pace is alarming, and the tones are dominant. It makes take you a few listens to get your ears to stop ringing but it’s well worth it; Bitter is a ride and a half, chock full of all the licks, riffs, screams, and grooves fans of progressive/psychedelic rock could ask for. It’s like the timelines split at some point and instead of sinking into jazz experimentation, pop-influenced revivals, breakups, or just plain obscurity, 70’s progressive rock bands got pissed instead and made it their goal to be as loud as possible. It goddamn rules.
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Kaleidobolt’s Bitter sees releases on the 31st of May. You can pre-order it via the Bandcamp page above. Oh, did we mention it’s releasing on the amazing Svart Records?