Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 6/8/2004
posted on 6/2004 By:
Before you ask: Yes, I know this is METALreview.com, and yes, I’m fully aware after numerous listens that any ties Paatos may previously have had to metal are now nearly entirely severed. To be honest, I really wish that there were some metal albums coming out that proved as compelling as Kallocain has, but unfortunately, there really haven’t been too many of late. The debut album from Paatos, Timeloss, was a purely progressive album, and it got the band signed to Inside Out for the follow up. The people at Inside Out probably shat themselves when they heard Kallocain. That’s not to say that it’s not a highly progressive record; it’s nothing if not a huge progression from where they were. It’s just not so much a progressive album in the sense that it doesn’t feature constant soloing on any of the instruments nor frequent use of odd time signatures or any of the other elements that epitomize the kind of music commonly referred to as prog these days. Still, after the initial shock at the different direction the band was heading in, I’m prepared to bet that the record execs found themselves quickly realizing that they had something special on their hands.
To be fair, this album isn’t so different from it’s predecessor that people wouldn’t know it’s the same band. Where Timeloss was in many ways simply imitation of what King Crimson was doing three decades ago, Kallocain is a huge expansion on the previous influences. Funnily enough, it’s probably closer to King Crimson of today than of times past, although were it not for the blatantly obvious influence in the past, I wouldn’t ever think to compare the two. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I have to disagree. It should be much more flattering to hear someone expanding on your past ideas than to hear repetition.
Now you may be wondering what this great expansion on the neo-Crimsonian sound has produced. The results vary tremendously in style over the course of this fifty-minute record, but where they don’t vary is in quality. Opener “Gasoline” has an ethnic feel at the start with a violin playing what could probably be considered the only solo on the album. It’s also the most progressive song on the album, ranging from darkly dramatic to somewhat loud and aggressive with some nice intricate drumming at the end. The second song introduces Paatos as purveyors of trip-hop ala Massive Attack or The Gathering on Souvenirs. One of the two best songs is the third, entitled “Happiness.” It’s catchy in the best possible way, and hard to describe as anything but a somewhat mellow rock song. The vocal line in the chorus is possibly the best I’ve heard in ages, and it’s complemented perfectly by the music behind it. “Won’t Be Coming Back” is another amazing song. It’s a moody and altogether lovely song, most notably for the subtle use of mellotron and Fender Rhodes. The rest of the songs are all similarly strong, generally staying rather dark and atmospheric but exploring a style that’s at least somewhat different on every song.
One thing that hardly changed from Timeloss to Kallocain is the production. They must have used very similar techniques that bands like Camel, Yes, and King Crimson used in the early 70’s, because it emulates that warm and intimate vibe perfectly. I was expecting at least some sort of stylistic change (though not as drastic as actually happened), and I had an inkling that a modernization of production would also occur. Fortunately, it didn’t, and thusly one of the best aspects of Kallocain is its production.
The appeal of this album may be limited among the usual fans of music on Inside Out, but I’d imagine that for most people with open minds, regardless of their usual genre of choice, Kallocain could prove a very rewarding and enjoyable listen. While there’s no way of knowing yet if it’s going to be among the best albums of the year, it is certainly one that’s been getting more repeat listens and is probably more fun to listen to than most everything else that’s come out so far this year.
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