Keep of Kalessin has evolved immensely over the years. Reflected heavily in their first album, this Norwegian band’s roots are in black metal; though in past years they have moved on to play its more melodic counterpart. Some bands thrive within this subgenre, while others flail in this watered down purgatory of extreme metal. Unfortunately, this EP proves that Keep of Kalessin is starting to merge into the second category.

This EP is a more solid effort than “Reptilian“, though it contains the same monotonous vocals, unoriginal guitar lines, and lyrics that are more reminiscent of power metal. It is a cliché mix and is far from the band’s best release. The self titled first track “Introspection” is the exact brand of melodic black metal that one would expect from the band. It starts with a symphonic keyboard introduction, and then moves into mid-paced riffing and over exaggerated lyrics. One of the highlights of this song is Obsidian Claw’s actual singing, proving that he has a fantastic voice, and solidifying the atmosphere that the EP was attempting to convey. The slower tempo with the less technical guitar part fits beautifully beneath his layered and unique vocals. However, this redeeming section is sadly fleeting.

The second track “Flight of the Hatchling”, on the other hand, is a piece that is reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen’s compositions. It comes off as rather pretentious, mindless shredding to impress the scores of fans who are beside themselves with the speed of Obsidian Claw’s playing. But, with the focus on flair, it lacks any sort of emotion and seems to be much more of a demonstration of basic skill rather than musicianship. The final song was dubbed the ‘extreme’ version, but this rendition of “The Dragontower” is no more interesting than it was on “Reptilian”. Plagued by a strange attempt at choral harmonization and the continued trend of dull verses, there is not really anything of note to mention about this song.

Overall, this three song EP was a good effort on the trio’s part. But, unfortunately for them, it comes off as simply boring and uninspired. It has the potential, but fails to follow through with any exciting or new content, which simply makes it seem like more of an attempt than a release. Keep of Kalessin has moved too far from their original sound and their experimentation has led to them sounding less innovative and more generic.

Track List Line Up
01. Introspection
02. Flight of the Hatchling
03. The Dragontower (Extreme Version)
Obsidian Claw – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Vyl – Drums
Wizziac – Bass