Friday, January 6, 2012

Krampus - Kronos’ Heritage

Kronos’ Heritage
Independent Release

Mixing folk and death metal is hardly as ground breaking (The fusing of unlikely sounds) as it was a decade ago, but it certainly hasn’t stopped new acts emerging from out of the woodwork vying for their place in the scene. The latest newcomer is eight piece act Krampus, who hail from Italy of all places. The band (Who comprise of vocalist Filippo Gianotti, lead guitarist Leonardo Rizzi, rhythm guitarist Alessandro Galliera, bassist Davide Zamparo, keyboardist Tommaso Adriano, piper/whistle player Matteo Sisti, violinist Marika Geremia and drummer Carlo Andrian) may have only been together for two years, but it’s been a productive two years, with the band releasing a three track demo in 2010, and a seven track debut E.P. effort ‘Shadows Of Our Time’ in early 2011. Now with the release of their second E.P. (‘Kronos’ Heritage’) in the space of a single year, it’s clear that Krampus are keen to make their mark on the scene.
Comprising of three tracks, ‘Kronos’ Heritage’ isn’t the sort of E.P. that fully showcases what the band are truly capable of in terms of broadening their sound over the course of a full album, and whether or not they can really keep a listener interested throughout. But for what it is (And that’s merely an E.P.), Krampas’ latest release is a solid enough release, and should appeal to those who are partial to the whole folk/metal movement.
The title track ‘Kronos’ Heritage’ gets the E.P. underway, and it’s with this track that you get a clear understanding of the type of folk metal Krampus play – and that’s melodic Swedish inspired death metal, with plenty folk whistles and strings helping bolster the guitars in unison. Riff wise, the guitarists keep things melodic and distinctive enough to keep the song interesting, while the use of the strings and whistles keep the folk vibe flowing throughout, rather than simply pop in and out at various intervals. The use of three different styles of vocals (A deep growl, a higher end scream and a clean and melodic voice) adds a little flavour to the song, and helps earn the song a place as one of the E.P.’s strongest.
‘Aftermath’ is next, and it’s here that the folk and death metal elements are separated a little more, allowing Gianotti and the guitarists to lay down some real aggression, with the percussion kept to a minimum.
Finishing up the E.P. is ‘My Siege’, which is a little more varied in terms of tempo from the former track, but still quite aggressive for the most part compared to the opener.
Overall, Krampus have put together an interesting E.P., but one that does have its flaws. Gianotti is a great vocalist, and can growl with the best, but his presence does have a tendency to sound the same after a while. Another problem is the genuine lack of variation from one song to the next. What the band have produced here over the three tracks is O.K., but I think a whole album of songs like these might not work as effectively, and have an adverse effect overall.
The final issue is the production. ‘Kronos’ Heritage’ sounds a little too clean and crisp, and therefore lacks the warmth necessary to make it sound like a band playing as a whole.
In the end, Krampus have what it takes to really come up with something great. But as of right now, their latest E.P. shows they still have some way to go, despite the strengths the E.P. clearly has to offer.

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© Justin Donnelly