Krallice – Diotima

Posted on April 9, 2011


Profound Lore



Socrates instructor during the famed symposium, Diotima of Mantinea, taught the renowned Greek philosopher that love evolves throughout our lives as we age. We are first enamored with the beauty of the young body, a feeling that struck with significant force upon the release of Krallice’s self-titled debut album; a stunningly unique work that combined the sound of black metal both ancient (Burzum’s hypnotic ambience) and modern (the disorienting counter harmonies of Weakling), played by some of the most competent musicians to enter the cutthroat melee that is the genre’s contemporary community. 2009’s Dimensional Bleedthrough was everything short of a complete about face. Bereft of most of the stunningly technical interplay that made its predecessor such a divisive record, Krallice’s sophomore effort was forced to fend for itself as a comparably minimalistic, nuanced piece. It was an album that demanded the ability to appreciate the artist’s intent and the subtle beauties of the work’s soul, the second step in Diotima’s proposed linear progression. Her third postulated that once we can peer into the depths and love something for its true self, we can see the beauty in the grand structure of the subject of our desire.

Enter Diotima, the Earth to Krallice’s Mars and Dimensional Bleedthrough’s Venus. Named in honor of the possibly fictional ancient instructor, Krallice’s third album is everything that made this quartet such a compelling project in the first place; a piece that is meant to be judged not simply by its stunning songwriting and musicianship, but by those intangibles that cannot be verbalized, only felt and absorbed. Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson called it the “decisive moment,” when an image is captured that is so pure it summarizes everything that immediately preceded it. When drummer Lev Weinstein’s blasting snare turns to an apocalyptic martial attack as Colin Marston and Mick Barr’s leads tangle like ivy, always growing, weaving, climbing towards the light above “The Clearing.” When Nick McMaster’s primal bellow rains down a “Litany of Regrets” over a pulsing double bass biorhythm, guitar squalls irradiating the seemingly infinite soundscape depicted in the cover art. When “Tulloric Rings” – joining “Energy Chasms” and “Monolith of Possession” among the band’s finest moments to date – defies time to contort around inter-channel harmonies before everything anyone thought they knew about tremolo picking is rendered irrelevant by a propulsive, simultaneous melody. They’re the jams the gods would bump at a house party on Olympus. The kind of stuff that would leave Zeus himself scratching his beard in bewilderment when he’s not windmilling his locks or getting it on with Dione.

Our final phase of love, according to Diotima, is that we ultimately perceive the greatest and most divine entities in our lives. The album that bears her name is rife with passages of uncorrupted unity in expanding time lapses. If we must reach that last stage to fully comprehend Krallice’s next record, the results will be an odyssey approaching perfection.

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