Label: Black Lion Records
Release date: May 10, 2019
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Promo
Like any other day the plan was to play the album through as I did some other work simultaneously. Boring housework such as the dishes and laundry does become easier when good music is on but in this case, it was just not doable.
Four of the Bal-Sagoth band members formed KULL along with Dyscaphia’s guitarist and composer, and on the 10th of May they released the album “Exile”. Be warned, however, if you plan to go the same way I did and attempt to do other things at the same time, you will most likely fail. My dishes were smudgy, my coffee was cold and the motor in my washing machine broke down after having attempted to play this record through while attending to other things and my advice is, be fully concentrated!
The trouble all started at the very beginning. “Imperial Dawn” as a short intro to this album gets you worked up and ready for the epic war ahead, although instead of wanting to charge into a shield wall with my sword held high I rather wanted to twirl into it; the happiness! Oh the happiness which continues with the familiar Bal-Sagoth’s sound embedded in “Set Nakt Heh” with the spot-on riffs and orchestration. The tale of an adventure is literally being told by spoken parts and surely it paints a picture for the listener, who by now, has to realize that full focus is needed; no wonder my dishes are so smudgy.
By now it’s obvious that adventure-black metal surely is a thing. Interesting arpeggio synth lurks in the background and a feeling of thrash comes over in “Summoning to War” even with added piano notes and as “Hordes Ride” comes around you realize the drummer probably couldn’t play more notes per second, even if his life depended on it!
As “Aeolian Supremacy” rolls around, so grand and melodic, you start to realize that what you have heard so far is so brilliant you just want to laugh out loud and the fact that this band has managed to involve so many genres of metal with a hint of theatrical harmonica riffs and pull the whole thing together without getting lost themselves in the process is unimaginable, and so when “Of Setting Suns and Rising Moons” yanks the listener from the adventure and back into reality with its icy-sounding bell-chimes, I for one wonder how I even made it out alive through the whole thing.
Is symphonic-pirate-adventure-extreme-black-metal with a touch of Shakespeare and Chaplin a thing? Well I guess it is now! The riffs and the drumming together can be described as insane, and even though the orchestration could align a bit better with the band, it still adds more uniqueness to the album. To have covered such a wide range of genres and eventually making the whole thing revolve around the listener’s feeling instead of the music itself is something I don’t know how they managed to do, but I believe that is the reason why you need your entire brain with no distraction to take this album on, and then some.
Oh, and KULL owes me a new washing machine!
8/10 To Greatness and Glory
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