Krallice, Diotima

Phil Freeman

By Phil Freeman

on 04.15.11 in Reviews


Turning black metal into high art,w ithout losing any of the genre’s intensity

Black metal bands typically temper their fury with concision — their ice-pick guitar riffs and relentless blast beats burn out after four or five minutes. But Krallice recognize no such limitations, frequently stretching their compositions to prog-rock lengths. The group's longest piece to date, "Monolith of Possession," from 2009's Dimensional Bleedthrough, runs a staggering 18:44, and "Litany of Regrets," from Diotima, isn't much shorter at 13:39. Guitarists Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Octis) and Colin Marston (Behold…The Arctopus, Gorguts, Dysrhythmia) are the band's co-leaders, their staccato riffs and piercing harmonies combining black metal fury with the slowly building power of minimalism or trance music. But the contributions of bassist Kevin McMaster and drummer Lev Weinstein (Bloody Panda) demand recognition; they give the music an undeniable heft and a supple, even fluid momentum. On "Telluric Rings," the album's high point, Weinstein sets up a powerful groove that bolsters Barr and Marston's aggressive interplay. When it finally gives way to blast beats, the savagery feels earned, and the guitar solo (at about the six-minute mark) is positively transcendent. Over the course of three albums, Krallice have gradually turned black metal into high art, without losing any of the genre's intensity. Diotima is a masterpiece.