KRALLICE — Krallice (review)

KRALLICE — Krallice album cover Album · 2008 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
KRALLICE began in 2007 and was masterminded by two ultimate guitar nerds. The first was Colin Marston who had just graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music technology in 2004. He soon would put the band Behold… The Arctopus on the map for being a highly innovative progressively oriented technical metal band and soon would also display his bass playing skills in the metal trio Dysrhythmia. The other half of the KRALLICE equation was in the form of Mick Barr, who has become one of the best known avant-garde guitarists of the 21st century with such bizarre and twisted musical concoctions such as Orthrelm, Ocrilim, Octis and Crop-Tech. These two never planned a band together but decided to collaborate to test the waters and ended up liking the music so much that they turned it into a more permanent project, thus KRALLICE was born.

Both of these guitarists have been known for their hyper-technical math metal since their beginning and together they create one of those larger than life bombastic furies unlike their contemporaries. They wasted no time creating their eponymously titled debut and released it in 2008. Barr handles vocals, guitar and bass and Marston on guitar and bass as well. Lev Weinstein joins the duo to perform equally compelling drum antics and a few additional vocal parts were performed by Nick McMaster. The debut KRALLICE album is characterized by a pummeling and brutal raw black metal sound that adopts the classic second wave lo-fi approach with many feedback and reverb affects added for that extra dimension of devilish distortion. Barr and Marston have notoriously utilized multi-layered guitar effects for their surreal bombastic and brutal dual guitar metal attacks and all those tricks and trinkets debut here as well.

While noticeably rawer and less produced than future albums, KRALLICE engaged in some of the most technically challenging black metal that has been released with a veritable influence coming from the San Francisco based Weakling which only released one highly revered album “Dead As Dreams.” Like Weakling, KRALLICE performs dissonant speed of light riffs with a reversing atmospheric presence that zigzag through surreal time signature frenzies and engage in an extremely progressive technical prowess that provides the ultimate example of “difficult musical listening.” The vocal style is muffled screams that emerge from beneath the bantering din and the drums were tuned as low as possible and recorded from a distance. Another trick is that the bass was played through two amps with different effects to allow a strange merging of different distortions.

Technically speaking, KRALLICE is on the top of their game with all the crazy antics and orotund creative extremities whizzing by at a million miles per hour however for whatever reason, the music of KRALLICE has never been able to inspire me beyond the technical admirations that they present. While taking every liberty to expand the lengthy compositional approach of what Weakling began including a sprawling 15 minute plus closing track, KRALLICE simply lacks interesting compositions as they all sound quite samey throughout, a trait that haunts their music to the present day. While bands like Deathspell Omega and Gorguts amongst others have found a thematic approach as to wrap their technical chops around, KRALLICE on the other hand sounds very much like a technically oriented band that forces the themes onto the desired calculations. This debut is interesting in how it creates musical textures and timbres hitherto unexplored but like all of KRALLICE’s lauded works fails to inspire repeated visits.
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