Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Kingdom of Noise Album of the Year for 2011: KRALLICE - DIOTIMA

No album of 2011 captured me the way Diotima (Profound Lore) did. Krallice have crafted a masterpiece that at times has left me literally speechless. Rendered mute and dumbfounded by the sheer brilliance of their creation. The immensity of talent that forms Krallice is mind-blowing. And I feel ashamed that I haven't realized that until this year. I can almost guarantee that I heard Dimensional Bleedthrough but for whatever reason it didn't click with me. As I've said before, Black Metal in general is a taste I have only acquired in the past couple years. The less black there is in my hair, the more black there is in my heart. Granted, Diotima is considered avant-garde as far as Black Metal goes but it hasn't transcended the genre altogether. One of the aspects of Black Metal that I particularly enjoy, and that Krallice perform with considerable success, is the sense of motion. Specifically a sense of flight. For the entire length of the album, my consciousness soars through time. Landscapes and colours shift and fade in my mind's eye. Darkness and light explode across my being or creep through my veins. My mind, body and spirit melt into one entity, content in nothing other than the absorption of the sound waves.
I may sound like I am being overly dramatic but this album affected me on a level much deeper than simply auditory pleasure. A sensory satisfaction that mundane can be satiated a thousand times over before you happen across something that is so good it hurts. That's what good art does. It makes you feel. You may feel joy. You may feel anxiety or fear. Anger, Sadness. Pride. Elation or disappointment. It could make you feel powerful, or weak. Or it may make you feel all of these things. The point is that it makes you feel something. That's what Diotima does for me. It makes me feel all those things. Often in the same song. As the soundscape unfolds, I envision it as the soundtrack to a world. It's stories and drama unravelling in sonic elegance. A journey beyond the speakers. An epic worthy of reverence for its ability to move your soul through the ether to a place outside of the everyday. And this is how I feel before I've even read the lyrics. The artfulness of the music is carried through into the words. The screams and growls and howls serve as more than just another instrument. They act as a vehicle for the poetic beauty of the written words. The juxtaposition of the cerebral lyrics and "animalistic" nature of the vocals is somewhat striking but not unexpected. Nothing about Diotima would suggest anything otherwise. One wouldn't expect such care to be taken musically to create such grandeur and nuance only to throw trivial lyrics over it. The lyrics get the listener thinking and the music sets the tone and fleshes out the details which together creates a magnificent singular piece of immensely satisfying art. For me, all this has enough impact to destroy a world. Perhaps similar to the impact that is theorized to have destroyed Tiamat and created our Solar System's asteroid belt. One of those asteroids is coincidentally named 423 Diotima. Named for the historical Greek figure, Diotima's discourses with Socrates are said to be the origins of the concept of Platonic love. While I assure you I have no intentions of proposing marriage to any members of the band, or my double vinyl copy of the album for that matter, my love for Diotima does push the very limits of the definition of Platonic.*
The dramatis personae performing this masterwork consists of vocalist/guitarist Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Ocrilim), guitarist Colin Marston (Behold...Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Gorguts), bassist/vocalist Nick McMaster and drummer Lev Weinstein. This foursome possesses a superb wealth of talent. Each an absolute master of their craft. Thankfully, it appears that ego does not come part and parcel with all that ability. In the liner notes, writing credits are presented as "MUSIC INITIATED BY..." :LYRICS BY...". I love that term "initiated by". This would lead me to believe (and I have read elsewhere) that this is a total band effort. Each member contributing to and building on an idea, a concept, a framework, initiated by one member. In fact, every member's name appears in the music and/or lyrics. As much as I deride "artists" who don't write their own "songs", I applaud even more so for bands that collaborate as a team. On this their third album, Krallice are now champions.
*According to the Wikipedia, entry for Diotima, "with genuine Platonic love, the beautiful or lovely other person inspires the mind and the soul and directs one's attention to spiritual things." That sounds about right. "Oh my GOD, this is awesome!"

CD available from Profound Lore here.
2LP vinyl available from Gilead Media here.


  1. Diotima failed to click with me (like you say Dimensional Bleedthrough didn't click with you). But now you've got me thinking I should give it another try.

  2. Dimensional Bleedthrough clicks for me NOW!!

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