KEEP OF KALESSIN AND ELUVEITIE BRING THEIR ECCENTRICITIES TO AMERICA — THE GRAMERCY THEATER, 09/29/08
Monday was a crazy night for metal in the city, with no less than 4 awesome shows happening simultaneously. Yours truly chose to attend the most eccentric, with Keep of Kalessin, Eluveitie and Dying Fetus opening for metal stalwarts Kataklysm.
The night’s biggest calling card for me was Norway’s Keep of Kalessin; their recent release Kolossus is a fierce slab of fast, psychedelic black metal, an album I’ve jammed several times and really, really like.
For anyone not familiar with Keep of Kalessin, I would describe them thusly: four dudes that look like a goth version of Legolas from Lord of the Rings — on heroin — playing passionate, fast, psychedelic black metal. The following description would also be accurate: Enslaved on an 8-ball of cocaine.
The four leather-clad gentleman with straight hair down to their asses and enough eyeliner to choke a kitten mowed through a short but colossally powerful set full of wicked, melancholy riffs, unrestrained aggression and, naturally, synchronized windmills. But for anyone who might be imagining hints of power metal (not that there’s anything wrong with that), get those thoughts out of your head. KoK are not grand or epic; they are decidedly dark in every way other than their pale Norwegian skin and blond hair.
KoK has been making waves across the metal community; scratch that — making ripples. At this early stage of the band’s career people are just starting to gain awareness of this band and their unique breed of heady black metal, but there’s a palpable groundswell surrounding them, and you could feel it in the audience. Give this band some time, say 2 or 3 more albums, and they will undoubtedly be noticed and praised by the same critics who now kneel down to suck on Enslaved’s balls, 10 albums into their career. This is not the type of band that’s going to be any kind of overnight sensation; it’s a lot to wrap your head around, and it’s going to be a long road. But if they keep evolving and making music at the caliber of Kolossus, it’ll certainly happen.
Onto Eluveitie. Any time you see 3 drunken dude-bros do-si-do-ing at a metal show you know you’re in for something out of the ordinary. And Switzerland’s 7-piece pagan-metal outfit Eluveitie are absolutely, 100% completely out of the ordinary. This is the kind of music I get all hot and bothered about; Eluveitie pedal quite possibly the dorkiest form of metal, and for that they are eternally cool in my book. Nothing gets cooler than these guys just lettin’ their dorkdom hang out
We’ve spent plenty of time waxing ecstatic about Eluveitie on this site before, so you should know what we’re talking about. If not, you’re missing out: Eluveitie blend the melodies and instrumental arrangements (flute, violin, hurdy-gurdy) of Swiss folk music with the structure and aesthetic of melodic death metal. It’s an odd combo, but it fucking works. The band sounded great, and for the most part the new members fit right in.
By the time Dying Fetus hit the stage it was late and I was tired from a grueling west-coast whirlwind this past weekend. It didn’t help that I was never particularly enamored with this band. Ditto for Kataklysm; I respect their history and all they’ve done for metal (especially Maurizio), but I find that there are plenty of bands who do what they do, only better. So I called it a night and headed home, only to be greeted by approximately 20 gunshots and two casualties (not dead, thankfully) on my corner not 10 minutes after I walked into my apartment. Great. But at least I saw a good metal show.