Kolossus – K Review

KolossusK is Grier‘s random pick of the month. I’d never heard anything about this Italian black metal outfit before I grabbed this promo. Honestly, I grabbed it because the band name made me recall Keep of Kallesin‘s album of the same name—which I remember liking back in 2008. So, I unintentionally rolled into this album with KoK in mind. Why? It’s just one of those things that’s hard to ignore when you see something that gives you deja vu. The word “Kolossus” may be the theme here, but it stops at the name. This one-man band—led by Helliminator1—combines some of the strangest influences into a single album. Although K is only Hellboy’s sophomore effort, he’s covered a lot of interesting ground in that time. You tell yourself you’re ready. But you’re not.

As I do with all bands that have a discography, I started from the top. It was only last year that Kolossus dropped their debut record, The Line of the Border. In those forty-plus minutes, my lips would involuntarily mouth, “What the fuck?” Each song is nothing like the last. Each brings something new to the plate, and none cared what came before or went after. It refused to follow the rules—it’s own or anyone else’s. And, to an extent, K is no different. Except this time around, Hellarzenegger attempts to establish some continuity. Again, it’s a challenging feat to achieve when you’re dabbling in so many soundscapes.

The back-to-back opening pieces are a case in point. The acoustic beauty of “Dust” in no way prepared me for the melodic onslaught that is “By the Light, to the Dark.” Like other songs on K, “By the Light, to the Dark” takes most of its nods from Enslaved. This is specifically felt in the clean vocals and Grutle-like rasps. Midway through, it leaves these influences behind and sets out for new territory. The moodiness of the transition, combined with the crooning, is like a combination of Woods of Ypres and Dax Riggs. Bizarre but effective. “Throne of Wood and Fire” is another that takes its cues from Enslaved. Not only will you recognize the proggy, oddly-timed riffs, but you’ll hear its layered vox and the big Enslaved-ish riff near the end.

On the heavier side of this chaotic maelstrom live “Outsider” and “T.A.A.” The former sounds like Satyricon with Ghosty doom vox. But the real treat is the clean guitar interlude. When it begins its climb, it delivers top-tier Enslaved beauty. “T.A.A” is a gnarly number with exaggerated, drawling vocals that remind me of Mayhem‘s Attila Csihar. It’s an aggressive number that becomes more unsettling as it goes. Especially with its blood-curdling scream and sinister fade-out.

But, my two favorite tracks are “The Last of the Titans” and closer “The Mouth.” The first has a lot of hard-hitting 2nd wave character. The vocals grow as the song weaves in and out of aggression and melody. Then, the guitars rise to the surface, delivering one of the few headbangable interludes on the album. The other comes in the closer. This song has so much going on that it takes multiple listens to spot it all. After powering through some Gorgoroth bludgeonings, it takes a detour to atmospheric territories. The melodic gallop and background choirs shift to Alcestian soundscapes before the song turns into a trashy toe-tapper. Even after all that, it’s not over. Before it ends, you’ll also travel past a spoken-word section with a killer, heavy metal lick. In its eight-plus minutes, “The Mouth” is by far one of the most exciting songs of 2021.

Even after two weeks with this album, I still can’t fully describe it. K is such a clever and unique mix of music that seems to blossom more with each listen. Being that it’s just shy of an hour in length, there’s a lot of nooks and crannies for hidden. That, though, is also where its issues lie. It’s far too long for its own good. Though I enjoyed it, all the twists and turns can be exhausting after fifty minutes of music. That said, this is one of the most unique records to come my way this year.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kb/s mp3
Label: My Kingdom Music
Websites: kolossusblackmetal.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/kolossusblackmetal
Releases Worldwide: October 22nd, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. Chokes on beer.
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