Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 7/8/2003
posted on 11/2003 By:
Virginia's Kilfast are some what of a musical oddity, while certainly death metal, their ‘strange’ style culls from Fear Factory (emphasis on cyber/futuristic/ song structures), melodic death metal (pacing and control), hardcore (dissonant guitar tone and choppy, chaotic breakdowns), and some hint of brutal death metal/grind (dual screamed/ultra gruff growls). The result is an interesting often convoluted album that is hard to listen to because of its vast array of styles, but is also a refreshing change from the swarms of predictable cookie cutter music being thrown at us here at MetalReview. The album never careens into utter noise, with the pace staying comfortably controlled, instead relying on stout mechanical riffs with a melodic sheen to convey the hammering atmosphere. However despite the constant lucky dip musical styles displayed on the album, it sometimes sounds disjointed and confused, even with well written songs; the sheer number of styles could be overwhelming for some listeners. And as much as I enjoy varied music, when the atmospheric black metalish piano break of “Prelude to Blasphemy” surfaces, the fine line between musical adventurism and eclectic overload is briefly crossed.
Vocalist Adam Coffman has an impressive range, that’s as varied as the music, and delivering the concept themed lyrics with both hawk like screech and ultra low bellow, he is the highlight of the band. Musically the songs constantly shift in weight and balance, leaving the listener uncertain as to the next style that will be emphasized. From the monstrous opening chugger “Temptation of Fate”, through the aforementioned “Prelude to Blasphemy”, to the lurching album closer “Dead letters”, the album never settles onto one distinct character. That fact will either leave the listener fully satiated at the huge crossover of styles, or leave some people wanton as their favorite style is merely touched upon and not fully fleshed out. And that dilemma is the thread that keeps “Tragedy Essential”, from being a much better album.
There’s essentially too much going on, which is a shame as amid the style battling for attention, there’s some pretty good, if predictable song writing. I kept waiting for that one mould breaking song, something that just grabbed me an forced me to pay attention, instead I got a piano solo-yes it was mould breaking, but not in a good way. Too their benefit, Kilfast keep the songs pretty short, even if similarly paced, so the convoluted direction of the band isn’t over exposed. Just when you think they have settled into one style too long, they end the song and move on. Just listen to the transition from the ending of “God of the Weak”, to the start of “Last Time”. You’ll either think it's genius or just plain overkill.
The production is mechanical and robotic, with drums of Art Eckerson the main focus, and that seems to be responsible for the cyber-ish sound that permeates the album (along with the odd sample; again-just a little too much), which slightly contradicts the album's concept. A more organic natural sound might have suited this album better, as the Fear Factory comparison kind of hurts them.
For most this will be a love it or hate it album, and while I really didn’t dislike the album, it had its moments; I just like my music more direct rather than a Hodge podge of styles. It will be interesting to see where Kilfast go from here.
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