Years Past Matter
Many within metal circles seem to have found New York’s Krallice a polarizing band – as I touched on in a recent review, some can’t handle black metal’s recent evolutionary process, finding it too elitist. The reality is the elitist boot fits those people better, but Krallice for me aren’t the definition of perfection – ‘Dimensional Bleedthrough’ was rightly hailed, but though last year’s ‘Diotima’ was lauded by many, but for me the production was too wishy washy in places, and let down what should have been a near-perfect black metal album. ‘Years Past Matter’ sets that right. Although it’s not exactly revolutionary any more, Krallice’s now tried-and-tested take on the genre has ripened, and the fruits of their celestial labour and arguably yielded the best results this time around.
The self-released album sees Krallice unleashing six incomprehensibly named songs (named in ascending order beginning with ‘IIIIII’, ‘IIIIIII’ and so on. A move which many may call pretentious but in which these days I choose to look beyond. Compared to its predecessors, ‘Years’ feels that bit more dramatic (and all the better for it) than previous releases, with synths and ambience being deployed occasionally to provide a gap in the lengthy fast paced environment they create within. The third track (‘IIIIIIII’) works this nuance with aplomb, morphing between various passages of blasts, tremolo picks, Mick Barr’s shrieks and Nick McMaster’s howls and changes in tempo beyond exploding with a dramatic ambient/synth only section that really does feel like a soundtrack to the constantly re-evolving, tumultuous worlds cast in galaxies far and wide; while the 16-minute instrumental closer ‘IIIIIIIIIIII’ is perhaps their most glorious work to date, cycling and blasting through various riffs and forms, to build up an epic climax worthy of the word.
Krallice – IIIIIIII
The more I listen to Krallice, the more it feels as though I struggle to get them. I fully understand that Colin Marston and Mick Barr are two of the finest guitarists in the world today, and I fully understand that Krallice are constantly trying to raise the bar for black metal and make it a different beast altogether. That’s not a criticism of Krallice at all – detractors might call its aimless noodling but the complexity and scope of what they do is worthy of positivity in itself. But moreso than other Krallice albums, ‘Years Past Matter’ isn’t instantaneous – it uncoils itself gradually with each listen, with each passage of music gaining clarity with each further listen, resulting in a highly rewarding experience. You can’t argue with the results at the end of it all. There’s a reason why Krallice are considered top of their pile, and that’s because they continue to push forward – never looking back.