Krallice – “The Clearing” (Stereogum Premiere)
A lot’s changed in American black metal since Krallice formed three years ago. A lot’s changed for Krallice, too. Strange it’s only been three years — feels like they’ve always been around. Maybe because despite Mick Barr, Colin Marston, Lev Weinstein, and Nick McMaster performing in a dozen bands outside their USBM juggernaut, they’ve managed (more or less) to offer a new collection each year: Their sophomore album Dimensional Bleedthrough surfaced at the end of ’09, they hit the road heavy in 2010, and now, as we start ’11, we’re getting to sample another blackened whirlpool. The quartet’s third, most ambitious, unrelenting (and heaviest, fullest sounding) album, the Friedrich Hölderlin-referencing Diotima, is out in April. Musically, it’s a sort of combination of 2008’s self-titled debut and Dimensional, but as the group gets more comfortable with smashing formulas they’ve taken on an a darker, weirder, stronger, manlier shade. They’ve shaken off the Weakling references at this point, cool? It’s worth remembering that McMaster, who in 2008 handled “additional vocals” and live bass, has substantially increased his writing role and generally made his presence felt. (It’s also worth noting Barr recently relocated from NYC to the D.C. area — Maybe another factor in the shift?) Conceptually, the guys are still brainy, grim in intelligent real-life ways: We have songs dissecting Hölderlin’s “Ode To Diotima,” online existentialism, the apocalypse, Stéphane Mallarmé, the void, divinity’s mortality, rot, endless mausoleums, etc. Sonically, you get a sense of both sides of the palette via lead track, the 12+ minute “The Clearing,” one of the band’s strongest songs to date (which is saying a lot, but after listening, you’ll realize I could say even more). Lyrically, it features the following mind twister: “All death has eaten itself / so it turns to life.” (It’s also just a fucking twister.) Take a listen and ponder your inevitable demise. It’s alright if you cry: Really, no one else is making music like this right now.
Here’s the Diotima tracklist. The running times are worth noting:
01 “-” (2:07)
02 “Inhume” (6:51)
03 “The Clearing” (12:11)
04 “Diotima” (12:27)
05 “Litany Of Regrets” (13:40)
06 Telluric Rings (12:09)
07 Dust and Light (9:33)
Diotima is out 4/26 via Profound Lore. That’s not the official cover art, it’s a preliminary sample. McMaster’s still finalizing.