I’ve been subjected to some rather odd experiences within the realm of Metal, but as of this very moment, this is the oddest. I am only mildly familiar with KEEP OF KALESSIN, in spite of their connection with the Norwegian Black Metal scene, so expectations didn’t really play much of a role in interpreting what is at work here. But by any standard of the world of all things steel, this is pretty hard to fully love, hate, or even revile for its sheer lack of lovability or detestableness.
The nature goal of this sort of a song is mass consumption, as can be gleaned from its purpose as an entry into the Eurovision song contest. But the problem that it runs into is that it is lost in an infinite sea of potpourri. Just about every mainstream manifestation of metal ever conceived, from softball semi-Metalcore meets Nu-Metal vocalizations (themselves a poor imitation of Phil Anselmo at his worst), woefully predictable riffs that lay somewhere between a Post-Rock drone and a very small tinge of Thrash Metal of the early 90s, slowed down variety, and an epic backdrop of ambient keyboards and a stagnant rhythm section that meanders somewhere between an oversimplified version of EMPEROR’S late era with a little bit of a C grade symphonic Power Metal additives here and there.
When all of the elements are mashed together into just barely over 3 minutes of music, which in and of itself is very stationary in nature, you have the makings of an instant radio hit, minus the necessary distinctiveness needed to actually pull it off. There is nothing overtly offensive to decent metallic sensibilities or over the top awful about this to make it appealing to the current pseudo-Metal hipster crowd that thinks ATREYU is aggressive as fuck, nor is there really a pleasantness to it that can rope in the Rock radio fans who think they’re heavy as fuck for knowing all the lyrics of METALLICA’S “Sad But True”. The only thing that really makes it stand out among the offensive drivel of SLIPKNOT and company is that it has a guitar solo, albeit a pretty brief and unadventurous one that Dimebag probably would not have touched apart from that decrepit crap he threw together with DAMAGEPLAN.
In short, this is a song that succeeds in simply being there, coming through the speakers and letting people know that the room isn’t silent. It is simultaneously so bland and so steeped in cliché that it could only really succeed in being background music during some hipster social gathering where today’s pseudo-beatniks make woefully tragic attempts at deep conversation, or perhaps an alternative to listening to your air conditioner for 3 minutes before nodding off into a mid day cat nap. I don’t really have the heart to smack this with a super low score, but it will not be a difficult song to forget about once a few minutes have passed. Wait…what was I talking about again?
(Online May 3, 2010)