This is the longest I think I have spent with a new album, before reviewing it. For the first time ever, I have found the prospect of reviewing a record, daunting. Not because it is bad. Reviewing a bad record is easy, easier than reviewing a good one. This record isn’t good though…It’s REALLY fucking good!!
Kjeld are an anomaly, for two reasons. The first being a geography matter. You see, they hail from the Frisian region of Holland. This is a tiny coastal area of Holland and Germany. Frisian, is still an internationally recognised language and has only 500,000 natives who speak it. Kjeld are fiercely proud of their heritage and have recorded this, their debut album, in their mother tongue.
The band are also one of those very scarce bands that mix up so many influences and eras of their genre, and do so with absolute perfection. Seriously, listen to this record and just marvel how they can sound similar Black Metal masters from the second wave like Mayhem, Emperor and Darkthrone, then modern stalwarts, such as Leviathan, Watain and 1349 and get this – That’s all in one song! Unbelievable.
The musicians of Kjeld, are clearly huge fans of all eras and corners of Black Metal’s expanse, that they manage to make it sound this good all spliced up and blended, is a masterstroke, quite frankly.
I will say this, and perhaps this has attributed to my reluctance to actually sit down and write this review, but “Skym” is one of hardest records I have let get under my skin. I am all for those albums that take 3 to 4 listens before they start to reward you and reveal their inner treasures, but this was a tough nut to crack, indeed. I certainly have been chasing my tail with this one, and the more I listen, the harder it gets as I mentally note what I want to say about various sections and songs. The downright bizzareness of opener, ‘Tunen Sinnen’, the full on creepiness of ‘Us Grun’ and the raw brutality of ‘Ivich Libben’ are an intial trio of highlights that come to me upon each sitting.
You will also hear, now and again, the unexpected but not misplaced usage of black ‘n’ roll style groove now and again. I’m not taking in that trendy-and-bullshit way, more in a Craft vein, and that is just fine with this listener. Vocalist, Skier, is engaging and commanding, sounding more-than-slightly like Erik of Watain in tone and how he spits his delivery. Again, this is bu no means a negative.
“Skym” has to be one the best hidden gems you will discover this year. Take a look around the Internet and try to find a singularly less-than-awesome review.
Buy it, stream It…steal it, just get it listened to!