Krallice - Ygg Huur

6 songs
35:32 minutes
***** ***


Krallice are among the forerunners of the new wave of American black metal. Just like Deafheaven and Liturgy expanded the genre exponentially, Krallice have also since their inception in 2007 scratched hard at the surface of what is allowed in this previously quite conservative movement.

I assume that many people are already familiar with the quartetís overall sound. The fact that the two guitarists Colin Marston (Behold The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, Infidel?/Castro!,...) and Mick Barr (Orthrelm, ex-The Flying Luttenbachers) have both quite a fascinating musical background with their respective bands should give Krallice the promotional boost that they deserve. Their first four albums came with rather long songs, often transgressing the ten minute frontier, and thus all ran for more than an hour. Ygg Huur is different in that regard, with only six songs that together donít even make it to forty minutes. The strange thing is that apart from the shorter opener and concluder, the songs are all exactly six minutes and forty-two seconds long. Coincidence? I doubt it and think that this is a good example to prove the formalistic precision of the extreme metal quartet.

You might have notice that in the preceding sentence, I didnít label them as a black metal band. Sure, the lyrics seem to have a very dark edge, but from a musical point of view, Ygg Huur is presenting itself from its most progressive side. And I donít mean Dream Theater or Rush progressive, but rather those bands with an avant-garde tendency that try to push the boundaries into hitherto unforeseen regions. Try to imagine Voivod on really potent speed, or Watchtower pushed through the meat grinder, and you get a certain impression of what to expect. And yet, Krallice do their very own thing. Are the songs melodic? I am sure that there are tons of melodies hidden within the hyper-speed, and at those rare occasions where the band is not thrashing full speed ahead, there are some really enchanting guitar parts. The ferocious onslaught by the drummer is incredibly impressive, and the bass guitarist is treating his instrument as if he had ten fingers on each hand.

The shorter lengths of the songs are possibly the reason why Ygg Huur is Kralliceís most straightforward album to date, and still you wonít listen to it in order to relax after a hard dayís work. Nevertheless this might very well be a record that should appeal to prog metal fans wanting more challenging material. Krallice combine the brutality of thrash metal, the precision of math rock and the complexity of progressive metal, spiced with a hint of pitch dark black metal, into a highly original stew that you may not always have the nerve to listen to, but in the right mood, there is no denying the intellectual appeal of the music. Compared to Krallice, other new black metal bands like the aforementioned Liturgy and Deafheaven play downright easy listening muzak.

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