Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kontinuum : " Kyrr"

I really dug this Icelandic bands first full length "Earth Blood Magic"  that took the prog direction Enslaved went in a more Tool like direction. On this album they have continued to evolve as the  guitar tone is more relaxed  and there is a slight post-punk element to the tense approach the vocals take. Not unlike say Beast Milk the vocals are clean sung in a more cautious baritone, it's evident this is another step away from black metal and into an almost hard rock direction. The vocals are also getting more like love in the production department when it comes to how they are layered on the  choral builds. The exotic scales of the clean guitar opens the second song with is dark but not metal. They return to singing in their native tongue. A powerful baritone bellow marks where they could erupt into the choruses. These are gradually built into rather than punched.

They continue more relaxed and melodically introspective in more of a Katatonia vein. Big chord ringing out with subtler guitar melodies laying beneath it. The bass line takes over the title track as the guitar floats around it. The vocals go up higher, almost tenor range. When they sing in their native tongue it helps keep them from sounding like an Icelandic A Perfect Circle, particularly when they play with drive but using clean tones which really brings out this influence. "Lone" is an introspective interlude that doesn't stray to far from the ground they have covered. Things pick up with "In Shallow Seas" . They hold the palm muted chug as the baritone vocals linger over it then soar up higher as it closes in on the chorus. It has a enough classic metal influence to give it power , but doesn't sound dated, despite a slight "Into the Mirror Black" inflection the vocals take on, though not going up as high as Warrell Dane.

They end with a big metal anthem. The vocals have a stronger cadence to them almost like something you might hear on a folk metal album. They are well executed and well produced over the duration of the album and are one of its strengths, which is a rare quality in metal today. The guitars go back and forth with the loud soft thing but not limited to sticking to any formula. This album is neither as heavy or experimental as I went into it expecting, but they succeeded in creating some solid middle of the road moody hard rock. If you need a gateway drug to get you from Tool into real metal then these guys are a good doorway. 'll round it up to an 8.

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