Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Krampus :Survival of the Fittest
Since its dragon con weekend I thought it appropriate to load some folk metal into my iPod. In my other reviews of this sort of thing we discussed how I play D&d and read Conan and game of thrones styled epic fantasy so I'm the target audience for this type of thing but for some reason it never seems to click the right way , most of the time due an ovabundance of frolicking. I don't like happy music , if the name of this blog didn't clue you into that so dancing a jig at the highland games has no appeal. Folk metal when it should be the soundtrack to the dark ages or Viking pillages turns into dancing around the maypole.the dark ages were to as jubilant as these bands think , they were filled with plagues and rather dismal piss scent squalor led deaths. So I want music which conveys the desperate bleakness of this time.
For what I had heard of Krampus is that they were dark and looked forward into bleak living, sounds good sign me up. Now I'm a goth for way back so when you say dark I'm not fucking around, so I have a high standard for low. "Survival of the fittest " starts of with a symphonic string build that is the soundtrack for final fantasy more so than opening the gates to the netherworld. Then things get rather Eluvietie from their. Before I knew if I was five songs in so like a lot records it seems I'm reviewing theses days we are getting the feel of one long work rather than songs with distinct personalities , the fith song " the bride" breaks from that in some ways it sounds like a singer I can expect to hear this weekend , maybe if the dude from Cruxshadows fronting a Nu metal band. The more Cruxshadows part I like Becuase while this is the most clean vocal prominent song I have noticed, there a different quality to his voice than say Amorphis or Tyr, who are more dramatic in tone.
This album is well produced though in a problem similar to what Eluvietie encounters I think the folk instrumentation could stand a more organic feel, though there is an in flames or dark tranquility feel to some of the guitar it doesn't come off as mall metal as Eluvietie. The absence of the Lacuna coil type cheese melted on some of the last Eluvietie helps out , though some weird electronics elements haunt the corners.
The track " the dance of lies" also stood out on the first listen as the chorus jumped out in one of those bad cop good cop trade offs. The coarse vocals I better than most bands of this sub genre who employ them with little conviction. Though it is here I I notice all folk metal bands seem to be under the impression flutes ,lutes and bag pipes only have a range of certain river dance like intervals to which I can only prescribe a steady diet of Jethro Tull who schools these types of bands on a regular when it comes to summoning the fey. If their is not a folk metal tribute album to Tull. It needs to happen.
So for the sake of rating this rather mixed bag lets look at the rest of the album , the first real song "beast within" blazing along that Swedish Nu metal ...inflames mode until, the little lute break and then jack hammers, the guitar tone is a little to processed nd makes it sound like those 8 bit thrash spoofs, the triumphant gallop in the windup at the end need to extended, well executed just not feeling it. From there the slowed down riff of "rebirth" still moves quickly and the first clean almost emo ore vocals come I. Though by the chorus they are more forgivable and this songs is an improvement from the MySpace metal opener.
There's nothing here I haven't heard before, the point is driven home on "aftermath" which all the lady hawke fiddling can keep from being a little boring even the samples included. This song started making me wonder how the bands p/r people had so well infiltrated metal press. As we have every tired new metal cliched krammed into this one.
By "bride" first song I liked on here it's one wonder It stands out is by "aftermath" I was tuning it out. "Redemption" is heavy at least on paper something out this type of riff age just doesn't make me feel like it is , yes it is well played it heavy is in how it feels oppressive or crushing and here I envision All Shall Perish or some equally as glue sniffing slinging their guitars around like it's tought when it's really hot topic Dokken. There are little shades of things I like being done on this one just not enough.
The last two songs which follow one of the albums other moments "dance of lies" tend to stick to the Eluvietie blue print with liberal doses of guitar slinging. It's shame because I want to like folk metal but you are killing me with the break downs for teenagers. Listening to "tears of stone" I want them to show me again they aren't Eluvietie tribute band, but they can't seem sell me on that despite my wishful thinking. So they get a big fat four for the three goods songs which I can live with out if I need to make space on the hard drive.