• 8.5/10
    KEEP OF KALESSIN - Kolossus - 8.5/10


Indie Recordings
Release date: June 6, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

It’s finally time for the much anticipated successor to Keep Of Kalessin’s 2006 full-length effort Armada. This is actually Keep Of Kalessin’s fourth album, but they didn’t really hit it big until their third release Armada surfaced.

The name Keep Of Kalessin is taken from Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books, where the arch-dragon and bearer of the Earthsea world is called Kalessin. They formed in 1994 under the name Ildskjær, but quickly changed their name into Keep Of Kalessin. It has taken much time and hard work to get where they are today, but they proved that they belong among the elite of Black Metal bands with Armada, and they deliver the goods with their new album Kolossus as well.

“Origin” is the album starter and the semi-acoustic instrumental intro for Kolossus. The track merges over to an uncompromising and brutal guitar riff that starts “A New Empire’s Birth.” This song, and the next “Against The Gods,” are among those that follow the more standard Black Metal pattern with speedy guitar riffs and a sort of melodic guitar that plays two-three notes on top of it all. These songs crave double kick drums all the way, and are intense experiences from the first second to the last. It’s interesting to hear what drummer Vyl puts into his drumming at times. It seems that he likes to experiment a lot with different styles as they play in addition to his flawless high-speed Black Metal drumming, and you will come to realize while you give this album a listen that Vyl is one of the most innovative drummers of the genre.

There are two songs that really stand out from the rest of the songs on this record. The first, “The Rising Sign,” is among those that put the word epic into Keep Of Kalessin’s music. On this track you’ll hear the first traces of keyboards, and it really substantiates the heavy riffs and makes them a lot more massive. “The Rising Sign” is probably the one track that sounds most Armada-like on this record, but it’s definitely a perpetuation of their style.

The second is “The Mark Of Power.” It starts slow with guitar and keyboard, and when Thebon brings a soft, ballad-like voice to the song, you’re starting to wonder what happened, but it’s a nice part and when it transcends to the heavier “chorus” you understand that this makes perfect sense. The extreme part towards the end sounds a bit like Mayhem’s “View From Nihil” only way more epic.

The title track “Kolossus” has a mid-part that reminiscent slightly of the Spanish inspired outro to Guns ‘N Roses’ “Double Talkin’ Jive” (of all things…), but with an underlying guitar riff in 16th notes, and it transcends into another part with a lots of tom drumming that even Igor Cavalera (ex. Sepultura) couldn’t have done better.

Kolossus is at times a more brutal confession from Keep Of Kalessin than what Armada was, but still there is no doubt about what band you’re listening to. Their Epic Extreme Metal is very much present on Kolossus. There are also instruments on this album that you don’t usually hear on a Black Metal album, like the keyboard lying in the background of the most extreme parts on most of the songs, or the massive piano mid-part on “The Rising Sign” along with what sounds like a violin. Taking that part into an extreme Black Metal part where you can find the insane double kick drum play, courtesy of Vyl, really pushes the boundaries for the epic parts of this record.

According to a press release by Nuclear Blast the album was recorded in the band’s own studio in Trondheim, Norway, and all songs on the album were recorded live in one take. Well, the album is excellent produced, and the record sounds very organic, no doubt about that. The sound is very dirty and genuine. Just listen to the start of “The Rising Sign” and you’ll hear string squeak as the fingers slide along the guitar strings for the next position along with the downright dirty snare drum sound.
The only negative thing to be said about the sound is that the guitar solos sound a bit hallow, and maybe a little low in the mix.

If you’re a fan of Black Metal and Extreme Black Metal in particular you should pick up this one, because Keep Of Kalessin is one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the Black Metal underground in years, and Kolossus will be their legacy!

Keep Of Kalessin is

• Obsidian C. – Composer, Guitars, Synth & Backing Vocals
• Thebon – Lead Vocals
• Wizziac – Bass
• Vyl – Drums


  1. Origin – 2:28
  2. A New Empire’s Birth – 5:50
  3. Against The Gods – 8:46
  4. The Rising Sign – 7:27
  5. Warmonger – 5:20
  6. Escape The Union – 7:49
  7. The Mark Of Power – 4:55
  8. Kolossus – 7:15
  9. Ascendant – 4:31


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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