Krallice’s Years Past Matter came out August 25, 2012. I should preface this review by saying that I really am not a fan of black metal. Every now and again I try to get more into it, but it is so hard like something that is just a wall of muddled sound for an hour. The recentness of the release should give some indication that I’m still absorbing this, so don’t give up hope for me yet.
That being said, there are moments of absolute beauty on this album. Let’s start with some stuff I don’t like. The drumming. I should like that it is a nonstandard way to use the drum set. Instead of some nice beat to complement the band, the drumming is more a tool to add noise to the sound. Granted, it always goes with the music. It is quite well constructed from a technical standpoint, and sometimes darned impressive like in the first song when the tempo is rapid and he plays on the off 16ths of a beat.
I can academically appreciate the drumming as you see, but it just creates an overall aesthetic that is detracting to me. Unfortunately, this is the aesthetic of black metal, so it is completely intentional. I can’t fault them for this. A lot of the songs have a lot of repetition in them. Mostly I don’t like this either. It makes some really good ideas drag on way too long.
This has been a very difficult album for me. Inside of the distorted wall of sound some really incredible things are happening…if you can hear them. The chord progressions are interesting and sometimes even moving. The place Krallice really excels is when they periodically break out of their mass of noise into some crazy counterpoint.
This happens for the first time a little more than halfway through track two: Iiiiiiii, not to be confused with track one: Iiiiiii or track three: Iiiiiiiii (seriously guys?!). This isn’t your standard metal counterpoint I’ve talked about before with Lavinia. This stuff would make Bach proud. It actually involves several independently interesting moving lines perfectly complementing each other.
There are also those moments of beauty that happen. Out of nowhere the messiness just dies to a chord progression that hits me where it hurts. Krallice, you’ll make a fan of black metal out of me yet. Overall, I’m going to say that sifting through the muddiness to try to hear all the effort they’ve put into the songs is well worth it.
The composition of the songs is excellent. They are original and interesting without being obnoxiously obscure. Waiting around for those moments of excitment with the counterpoint and the moments of beauty are also worth it. Understanding this album is not going to come from just a few listens.
I just can’t say I love the album overall, though. If you like the black metal aesthetic, this will probably score much higher for you. That’s why I’m giving it a 7/10.
Here’s a sample (skip to 14:50 for one of those interesting moments):