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Krallice – Years Past Matter

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Metal history has shown us that prolific ingenuity, for the most part, is ultimately met with prolific stagnation. Perhaps we set ourselves up for disappointment but when the inevitable piss-poor album manifests, we hope that the bandage of dwindling importance will be removed quickly; that often becomes wishful thinking in hindsight. Defying those odds requires the difficult task of consistently providing unique and relevant compositional ideas; otherwise, like a roving pack of addicts, the audience looks elsewhere for that shit. With the release of Years Past Matter, Krallice not only show no signs of approaching their half-life, they’ve managed to outpace their audience’s ability to ingest their material. The question is no longer then to ask, “Will their next album be good?” but rather, “How good will it be?” For lack of anything tangible, their predictable brilliance might be their biggest fault.

Albeit a dense landscape, each Krallice release can be ultimately identified by its larger theme. Their debut album, by far the most straightforward in their canon, made an audacious rookie statement that served to splatter the term black-metal with their prog and avant-garde jazz sensibilities. From the opening notes of “Wretched Wisdom”, it was obvious they were onto something special. On Dimensional Bleedthrough, the band lightened their sound and created a more playful album, relatively speaking, which was a strong contradiction to the bitter and murky Diotima, whose bleakness was the sound of a group challenging themselves to push even deeper into their sensibilities.

Continuing on their journey, Years Past Matter incorporates the playful and bleak elements from their previous two releases to showcase a newfound restraint that speaks to a group perfecting their craft. The complex melody lines still carry their signature density but are delivered with the discovered finesse of a seasoned and well-maintained machine. There’s an obvious scaling back, most notably on the intro to “IIIIIIIIII”, but their unerring tug-of-war between obscure chaos and blissful resolution seems even more heightened than previous efforts. Krallice is often accused of being long-winded, but when more deeply scrutinized, their music constantly evolves, no matter how slight, to enhance the approaching section. Like a traditional offering, no aspect of the music goes to waste. The four individuals, each independently evolved, work together to create one mammoth assault that displays their continual sacrifice of ego for the greater good of the piece.

Years Past Matter further solidifies a sound so singular and realized from Krallice that it renders their competition unlistenable, or unable to compete at the very least. Despite their prolific decimation, they manage to inspire rather than discourage, joining the ranks of artists who’ve historically set the bar for others to better. That achievement grants them the rare connection to all music past and fashions them an influence on all music ensuing.

— Aaron Maltz

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