In four years Krallice have managed to release three complex, hypnotic, ambitious, whirlpooling albums — even with its four members performing in a dozen or so outside bands. The biggest structural shift since the early days is the increased role of bassist/vocalist Nick McMaster, who joined guitarist/vocalist Mick Barr, Warr guitarist Colin Marston, and drummer Lev Weinstein as an “additional vocalist” (and later a live bassist) for the 2008 self-titled debut. On album three, McMaster’s everywhere. He lends his burly death metal bellow to more tracks than Barr’s airier black metal banshee howl (when the two come together, as they do on the mind-melting “The Clearing,” it’s pretty special). He also spearheaded the central Friedrich Hölderlin/Plato-referencing “Diotima” concept and contributed additional poetry, philosophy … and Stéphane Mallarmé. Of course, none of the guys are slouches: They spend time exploring online existentialism, the apocalypse, the void, divinity’s mortality, mausoleums to infinity, death turning into life, etc. Despite the heaviness of the lyrics Diotima is an uplifting, majestic, even celebratory combination of the debut and 2009’s transitional Dimensional Bleedthrough; but as the group gets more comfortable playing together, they’ve taken on an altogether darker, weirder, manlier shade. As a result, Diotima’s their most unrelenting, heaviest, and fullest sounding album to date. Beyond judging them in the context of their catalog, they’ve also managed create a unique, and totally viable angle on black metal, something increasingly difficult to accomplish amid the flood of 2011’s failed blast-beat experimenters.
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