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Krallice - Crystalline Exhaustion review

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Band: Krallice
Album: Crystalline Exhaustion
Style: Avantgarde black metal
Release date: January 2022

01. Frost
02. Telos
03. Heathen Swill
04. Archlights
05. Dismal Entity
06. Crystalline Exhaustion

Krallice's Crystalline Exhaustion feels more esoteric, mystical, technical, and otherwordly than other black metal due to how the great emphasis on keyboards adds a strange force to the compositions, ideal for to levitate and execute astral projections staring at the back of long-forgotten entities that wander around the cosmos.

I'm not going to lie by claiming I'm a hardcore black metal fan, because the truth is black metal feels very monotone for me, taking into account that my favorite metal style is progressive technical death. I may not be the best person to write about these guys, but hey, after all, every review is about personal impressions, right? One of the reasons why I feel black metal is monotone is because of its overused atmosphere which conveys the nostalgia of deep lyrics which mostly talk about personal experiences related to pain. However, it seems like

Heavily focused on synthesizers, Krallice's experience turns out to be a complete journey that requires heavily altered states of consciousness to fully experience it. It might evoke the door to such an apprehensive and captivating sense of the unknown horrors that lie in profound introspection and reflection, alongside the classic soundscapes of black metal: icy storms that freeze into blacker layers of permafrost darkness, resisting the temptation of returning to the surface just to be irresistibly pushed lower and lower, descending the most tenebrous memories of your sanity. Crystalline Exhaustion is contemporary, perilous, and progressive (more noticeable in tracks like "Heathen Swill"), but I would not be honest if I didn't talk about the varied range of instruments that also massively contribute to the atmosphere, such as the odd ghost bells.

Some tracks might not be convincing because of the obliterating atmosphere, but when used more imaginatively and in precise, subtle doses, Krallice can convey the message with all its power. I've always cared much for the guitar riffs and the frenzy paroxysm of metal, and there's the classic hostility in some tracks that make you feel hooked if you're looking for the metal side of the record, like in "Dismal Entity", with its guitar tremolo lines, fluid drums, and a death-metal-driven vocal style. But to be honest, I feel like the explosive riffs little matter in Crystalline Exhaustion, especially with powerful tracks like "Crystalline Exhaustion". Many elements make this particular track stand above the prior ones, it almost reaches the ethereal (which reminds me of the atmosphere set up in Sutrah's Aletheia, one of the best EPs of all the time). Somehow I can relate it to one of my favorite tracks ever, "Vicarious Redemption" (Cult Of Luna). The sensation of your blood being squeezed drop by drop from the very heart makes it to be frantic, exasperating, isolating, poignant, mind-dissecting.

Crystalline Exhaustion leaves more than clear that its secrets, buried in the darkest crystals, are not for the inexperienced listeners who seek new thrilling sounds: it's not digestible at first, it's indeed exhausting yet rewarding. So take the proper time to unleash all its secrets.

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

Written by yoless2 | 24.03.2022

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Black metal's trailblazing hyper-technical offspring comes out with its most grounded work on Crystalline Exhaustion.

published 03.02.2022 | Comments (5)

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