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Kalmen : Funeral Seas

Well-presented, but with some flaws, Kalmen's latest Black/Doom venture does have atmosphere.

I was a little unsure of what to expect from Germany's Kalmen on 'Funeral Seas', largely because they're described as a hazy combination of 'Psychedelic Doom' and 'Black Metal'. Part of me wondered if they'd taken a leaf out of their fellow countrymen Bethlehem's book but although I can detect traces of such in their music, it's safe to say that Kalmen have indeed gone their own way on this release.

Musically, this a rather up-tempo Black/Doom release. The band appear to have chosen intensity over atmosphere although I still think that there's a decent amount of both. I certainly couldn't say that I was bored whilst listening to 'Funeral Seas' because their ability to write captivating songs was extremely evident.

Nonetheless, there were areas that I thought the Germans needed to improve upon. For example, I think that the production a bit below par. Everything seems to sound a lot quieter than they should, especially the guitar riffs. This was especially disappointing when it came to the solos as I felt they added a lot to the intensity of the composition. I also found the drums to be too 'tinny' for my liking, and I don't think that helped overall.

For me, the best part of the album was the powerful harsh vocals, which verged upon falling into the 'tortured' vocals category. I thought they complemented the music excellently, especially with the distorted guitars taken into consideration. I can certainly see why they've been dubbed a 'psychedelic' band of sorts, although I'd perhaps be more inclined to say they were more 'psychotic' than 'psychedelic'. When it comes to wild guitar work and fearlessly ploughing through numerous musical styles, Kalmen certainly do follow in Bethlehem's footsteps.

Sadly, I can't honestly say that Kalmen did it as well as Bethlehem, though. That's not an insult, mind you - it's extremely hard to do what Bethlehem have done over the years. However, I just feel like Kalmen are missing a bit too much to be completely effective here. I do think that they've managed to capture an almost evil essence in their atmosphere, which is a big plus. There's certainly a foundation for them to build upon with the positives I've already mentioned. However, with production being a bit below par and the drums irking me, I'm a little on the fence as to how I feel about the overall album. It's one of those that will take a few months, I suspect.

One thing I would like to mention is how well-presented the album is. It's in a superb digipack with great artwork and although their printed lyrics are sometimes in broken English, I'm prepared to overlook that because of how much effort has clearly gone into their presentation. Besides, from a musical perspective, their songwriting skills have been very good, which supersedes the lyrical side of things.

I do think that people should give this album a whirl. Some will like it and some won't. It's intense Black/Doom but it's not straight off the shelf. There are psychedelic elements and an overwhelming feeling of evil and insanity throughout the composition that is reminiscent of the chaos that Bethlehem unleash. I can't honestly name a band within the Black/Doom spectrum that Kalmen sound like, largely because Kalmen do lean more toward Black Metal than Doom Metal. There's a powerful enough atmosphere for Doom fans to get something from this composition though, despite its various weaknesses.

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Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Spectral
2. Thieving Sky
3. Portal
4. Uninfinite Black
5. Swansong
6. Arcane Heresies
7. Searenade

Duration : Approx. 51 minutes

Visit the Kalmen bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-01-04 by Ian Morrissey
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