Release DetailsLABEL Scarlet
RELEASED ON 6/13/2005
posted on 11/2005 By:
I wasn’t prepared for this album. Hell, I hadn’t even heard of these guys before this review. Chances are, Kayser has slipped under your radar, too. What I soon found out myself was that these Swedes spend very little time fucking around and get straight to the point, playing mostly mid to competently fast thrash metal with enough originality to avoid falling into the oh so popular derivative modern thrash bin.
Imagining the reaction some of the more cynical metalheads will have to Kayser isn’t difficult. Those that had the balls to hate on today’s version of Exodus will have the same complaints here. There’s that same sense of simplistic melody that runs against the more challenging grain established in the 80s, but I think most will find this to Kayser’s benefit, as the slower riffs and melodic passages highlight Spice’s vocals in a way that more complex material could not. And yes, you heard right. Spice, of Spiritual Beggars fame, serves as vocalist here, and impeccably so.
Unlike many modern thrash acts, Kayser refuses to cater to those looking for a break in the action. There are no Annihilatorl-like ballads on Kaiserhof. Often times groups that practice this ethic are dubbed working class thrash, ala Overkill, but throwing meaningless titles like that around is not only pointless, but insulting. Because most songs are driven by a few compelling riffs, solos, while present, are tight and brief, and the tracks never overextend themselves, with the longest song clocking in at 5:35 and most falling closer to 3 and a half minutes. The result is one of the tightest collections of thrash 2005 has to offer.
The first thing you’ll notice, and this isn’t to discredit the rest of the band, is Spice’s voice, which has been described in the context of this band, and not Spiritual Beggars, as similar to early Tom Araya. While I hear that influence, I think Spice’s vocals sound a bit thicker than Araya's. I’ve also heard that the band itself sounds close to Slayer. I really don’t know where they find some of these writers, as they’re all reaching for lame comparisons. Maybe if Slayer were neutered and combined with modern Exodus, but Kayser is neither purely one nor the other. They have spent too much time throughout Kaiserhof establishing their own sound to be so quickly and haphazardly compared to others.
Most reviews I’ve read for this album shoot a premature load, jabbering on about the album’s opener, which is hardly telling of the rest. “1919” is much faster than the following nine tracks, and because of this reads as more of an exception than a standard. If I were to pick a track most definitive of Kaiserhof, I would sooner pick “Like a Drunk Christ”, which pummels for 3:40 and contains both a compelling chorus and an all-too brief five second solo. Lead single “Good Citizen” is another song indicative of the album as a whole. Similar to “Like a Drunk Christ,” the pace is kept mid-tempo, but the driving riff is compelling and the chorus is even stronger than the aforementioned track. There’s a five second pause where all but one layer of the music stops, only to be followed by a twenty second solo. That formula is repeated on several tracks but never overextends and grows stale.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is one hell of an album for those seeking more melodic thrash. Don’t let the fact that you’ve never heard of this Kayser prevent you from giving them a quick listen. It won’t take long for a decision to be made up concerning this band. You’ll either get it or you won’t, all within the time frame of one song. The leads are lightning fast. The vocals are first class. All ten tracks slay and are easily differentiated without resorting to forced ballads. What more could you ask for as a fan of modern thrash?
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