You know that little parental advisory label, warning of explicit content that comes standard on all our favourite albums? Well after listening to Kolp’s The Outside, that label needs a re-think, something along the lines of ‘Yawn Warning – explicitly boring content’ seems more fitting. Black metal is supposed to inspire a kind of cold, dark, festering controlled rage; the kind that makes you want to toy with Satan and burn down the odd church or two – think groping around at 2 am hunting for that can of gasoline and pesky box of ever elusive matches. Hailing from Budapest (Hungary) Kolp consist of two fairly experienced black metallers, having been in the music business for some time and between them they’ve been in a host of black metal projects including Nyomor, Witchcraft, Koprofaagia and Ravenshades (Veér). In terms of sound, Kolp have a traditional black metal sound that’s common to any number of other bands out. Really, just go through your music collection and pick up anything that has black, Satan, The Devil’s blah blah blah in the title and you’ll hit on a match. This being Kolp’s follow up to their 2010 debut, The Covered Pure Permanence, I was interested to see how Kolp had morphed and possibly progressed in the last two years. Seems they didn’t.
The opening track of The Outside starts off well enough except for one small, shall we say, pesky little detail (details are a bug bear for me). “There Was No Place to Hide” has this monotonous, sludgy, plodding riff that I kind of like, It’s a little memorable and instills a kind of crushing sadness in me. At any rate, it’s what stood out in the song and imagine my level of “what the fuck” when I realised it’s been used and re-used in “All Desolate” off their The Covered Pure Permanence album. Guys, really? Two years to work on new stuff and that’s how you choose to kick off your album?
Tracks like “The Void and the Silence”, “Completion” and “There was No Place to Hide” are the vocal “highlights” of the album and Jim Jones puts forth typically high–pitched, rasping screams that, while plenty plaintive and misanthropic, are sparsely used, quite unintelligible and oh so repetitive [Madam X is obviously not drinking the Kool-Aid. What? Too soon for Guyana jokes?? — Steel Druhm].
Instrumentally, Knot uses typical lengthy instrumental sections consisting of heavy distortion with a focus on making use of very repetitive mid and fast paced trem picked guitar riffs. His drum work is largely overshadowed by the guitars and while none of the instrumentation is badly executed, there’s absolutely nothing exciting about it. Therefore, nothing really stands out from one song to the next and each track just plods on and on (or maybe it was just one song I played over and over again, I’m not really sure). “Favourite” is a strong term and so is “standout tracks,” but the tracks I found most enjoyable were “Drowning” and “There was No Place to Hide.” In all fairness though, pitting these against the excitement bands like Marduk and Ragnarok inject into black metal make it very very hard for me to call these tracks standouts.
Every now and again an album comes along that blows your mind. This is not that album! Mostly The Outside is packed with mediocrity and while it’s not a horrible listen, it’s just more same old same old. Maybe it has something to do with Hungary’s communist background and everyone being equal or the same I guess [yet another reason communism sucks — Steel Druhm]. So in this instance I have to say that while the music is decent enough, so were all the other bands that came before Kolp. Don’t expect any surprises from this one.