Kall - Brand review

Bandcamp music player

29 users:
Band: Kall
Album: Brand
Release date: June 2020

01. Rise
02. Fervour
03. Eld
04. Fukta Din Aska
05. Hide Below
06. Fall

Brand is my first encounter with Kall; however, I am familiar with the predecessor to this group, Lifelover (or at least their record Dekadens), and Brand feels like the sound of that record stretched out and blended with psychedelia.

I'd seen "black n' roll" used in several places to describe the sound of Kall, and to a degree I suppose there's some justification for it, but considering my main encounters with music classified as such involve the likes of I's Between Two Worlds, Brand doesn't feel part of the same lineage. This website's review of Dekadens uses the phrase "a Britpop interpretation of disturbed black metal", and the rockier side of both Lifelover and Kall feels closer to alt rock than hard rock. The song that's most aligned with this sound is "Eld", which has riffs that feel like blackened distorted versions of grunge/post-grunge riffs, along with a stark, flashy guitar solo. The other particularly rocky track, "Hide Below", feels closer to indie rock than classic rock when it does move into more concrete grooves after a spacious, atmospheric first half.

Having said all that, these moments do not feel like the dominant force on Brand. I'm not even sure there is one; it covers an impressive amount of sonic territory over the course of an hour, bringing different reference points into the fold. More than anything else, the menacing riffs on "Rise" take me closer to The Formulas Of Death-era Tribulation, particularly songs such as "Rånda" from that record, and especially when some ominous guitar leads get brought into the mix. In contrast, "Fervour" opens quietly with almost a cabaret vibe to the vocals, before turning into what is basically an atmos-black song, slow, measured and evocative. This song also features a saxophone solo in its closing minutes, something that will pop up several times more on Brand. The record shares some crossover with the sound of Lifelover, but goes in several intriguing directions, whether it's the ones I've previously mentioned or the slow, massive doom of closing track "Fall", to which the saxophone adds a delightfully psychedelic twist.

Of all the directions Kall go on Brand, however, probably the most striking is the twisted psychedelic black metal of album centrepiece "Fukta Din Aska". The only acts that I can really use as a frame of reference for the contorted riffs, disjointed sounds, dynamic ebb and flow, and everything else going on in this track are Oranssi Pazuzu and associated bands such as Waste Of Space Orchestra or Atomikylä. The jagged guitar solo, the smooth sax section, the subsequent combo of frantic sax and blast beats, there is a lot to digest in this track, and that's before reaching the melancholic clean guitar solo that takes the song in a completely new direction about 5 minutes from the end, until it returns to the dissonant psychedelia of earlier in the track for its final moments. "Fukta Din Aska" stands out on Brand in terms of style and quality, and really dominates my opinions about the record.

There are plenty of other things that could be discussed in relation to this record and its eclectic soundscape, but the demented vocals of Kim Carlsson merit some focus, with the tortured interjections adding a real depressive black metal vibe to the surrounding madness. This madness also includes some frantic bass work, adding interesting contrast to the more typically restrained guitars. The culmination of these varied sounds, pained vocals, and interplay between guitars, bass and saxophone renders Brand a unique and captivating listen.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Written on 27.07.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 2   Visited by: 42 users
28.07.2020 - 14:42
I hate to admit it, but until like a week ago I hadn't listened to any Lifelover. Though this isn't really just a continuation of the band, both of them have such unique takes of metal in the way they blend it with nonmetal influences. I really have to dive deeper, but I really liked what I heard.
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
08.08.2020 - 10:43
Awesome album. I particularly liked the shorter songs especially fervour and fall as opposed to the seventeen minute behemoth. It's true that they cover such a huge sonic territory in a matter of 1 hour. Their mastery over their craftsmanship in undeniably excellent.

Hits total: 942 | This month: 46