Wednesday, November 17, 2010

krieg - the isolationist (2010)

Although Krieg have been around in various forms since 1995, their newest album The Isolationist was my first experience listening to them.  All I knew going in to this record was that I'd heard of the band here and there, knew there was a connection to black metal supergroup Twilight (who I actually haven't listened to yet), but never really felt compelled to seek this band out.  I guess I'd never really seen or heard anyone declaring that Krieg was really good and important and I need to check them out, so I just never did.  Upon listen to this, my first impression was that this was yr standard epic, sorrowful black metal; extremely well produced, and at times very compelling, but nothing that special.  But quickly this album started getting... weirder.  Not really obviously weird, not avant-garde experimental techno black metal with toy pianos or anything, but more like strange winding and dissonant chords, guitarless passages of reversed drums and wordless howls, a voracious static that devours all other sounds, or an unnaturally frantic quickening of the pace at the very end of a song.  This is still pretty traditional black metal, but well-executed, and the occasional strangeness sets it above being just middle-of-the-road.  When things really coalesce for Krieg, and I would say they do more often than not, this rivals the best black metal of the year (BURZUM).  But there are enough moments too where things drag on just a little too long..... and I start zoning out.  I admit that I tend to gravitate towards less orthodox styles of black metal, but although this album doesn't take too many risks, it nevertheless stands out among this years' black metal releases.

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