Celebrating 15 years since the release of their debut, in praise of the most self-accomplished and hard working band in extreme metal. Lead by the prolific record producer and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Colin Marston and long time collaborator Mick Barr, Krallice’s self-titled debut came out in July 2008 and they have released 14 studio albums (and three EP’s) so far. Self-accomplishment comes in many ways, and I feel Krallice attained that through making some of the most original and engrossing albums of any kind in metal.
Its difficult to even start to explain why Krallice is such a special band to me. Is it because it saved me from falling into depression some 14-15 years ago in one of the most challenging periods of my life? or was it because it was the trigger to re-discover their previous albums and establish the band as as definitive and worthy torch bearer of imaginative and contemporary Black Metal in a time I was losing faith in the ‘sub-genre’ – arguing with myself that maybe I wasn’t getting it any more, that this was no country for old men?
I am not a fan of traditional metal, I never listened to Iron Maiden or Judas Priest and I don’t care about trash or power, or epic and symphonic.. my ticket to the metal realm was the result of 2 events: 1) a chance encounter with a revolutionary album: Bathory’s ‘Blood Fire Death’ and 2) my admiration for early (British) post-punk and industrial music. Having been perennially influenced (obsessed) by the triumvirate of Joy Division, Bauhaus and The Cure, I only so often glanced at bands from the other side of the pond – such as DK or Black Flag first, or Skinny Puppy and NIN later – but did so at lightning speed as I was not into Hardcore, nor the theatrics or the evolving EBM scene, and utterly unconvinced, sought solace with Coil and Psychic TV. So you see, a little noise, a little weird and unconventional was my game. And then I discovered L’Eau Rouge by Swiss band The Young Gods (not Chanel). This album redefined the game, it uttered “go forth and be mesmerised” and open the gates for even weirder and harder. Months later, I’d stumble on ‘Blood Fire Death’, my ticket into Black Metal. The year is 1989. And then came Ministry, and Darkhtrone… & Swans and Dissection… and the rest is history.
Back to Krallice, some 17 years past. Krallice effectively saved me from feeding on the doubt and disbelief that creeped every so often when listening to new releases from old and new bands (mostly an awful lot of bedroom one man bands, regurgitating cheap imitations of early Darkthrone or Dödheimsgard…), that fuelled the thought that maybe I wasn’t meant to be listening and understanding Deafheaven and Liturgy at 45 years old. Maybe thats right, and thats why these bands don’t work for me, but it is also true that I know I have enough openness and broad-mindedness to accept every genre and sub-genre of music with open arms and decide “in under 1 minute” if I like it! … and make an informed decision to support and welcome any piece of music by any band into my world. Damn, I dig Eartheater (no vocoders please), often cry when playing Jóhann Jóhannsson… I still feel like I banged my head while dreaming when listening to Lurker of Chalice and my collection of MFDOOM means the world to me.
The year was 2009. Twenty years after ‘Blood Fire Death’ landed in my lap. Krallice release ‘Diotima’ and together with another ground breaking album from the same year, the unmatched ‘Monoliths and Dimensions‘, they opened new avenues of hope in the realm of extreme music… to be continued.