in the failing light I dread the night
out beyond the shadow, I strain to see
to the other side, to the other me"
One Word Review: Epicus
Darkness and Light was my first Keldian experience, and with it, I discovered a unique band, who have carved a niche for themselves in a way that is pretty impressive. Their sound and songwriting is unique in a special way, in part because of how they blend heavy music with exquisite melodies, an in-your-face vocal performance and a thick, unique atmosphere, which channels a special blend technology, space and emotion. It is quite hard to describe the feeling I get, while listening to Keldian's music, but it is unique and no other band has conjured something quite similar.
So, after listening to the album a few times, there was no doubt that I had discovered something special. Here, almost a year later (yes it takes a while for me to write these reviews :)) and having listened to all their albums, that feeling has only grown. Darkness and Light, being my first discovery, is currently my favorite album of theirs, but the other albums show great potential too, though I have not heard them as much yet. Darkness and Light just feels complete in some way. The sound is also excellent on the recently released remastered version of the album.
Speaking of remasters, the band has recently released remastered versions of all their four albums. These are worth buying, even if you have the originals, since the band has done the remaster job right, by lowering the volume and expanding the dynamics. I purchased all the originals through their band camp page, and a few months later they started releasing the remasters, which I also purchased one by one. In each case, the improved sound was clearly audible, and it is a joy to experience the albums in this way. I wish all bands would handle their remasters like this.
Back to the album. Darkness and Light is an interesting mix of styles. The music is overblown in just the right way. What could easily have become comical, ends up being completely convincing in a fist-clenching, true way. Take 12 minute I'm The Last Of Us. Building slowly in atmosphere, to a bombastic, over the top chorus, where the delivery and atmosphere is so convincing, that I can only surrender to its epicness. The chorus is delivered with so much power, that I look forward to it every time, and the overall mood is just perfect. As the song segues into its instrumental section, just over half way through, the keyboard leads a charge, that makes me visualize the song, and that mood is a nice contrast to the lyrics, like a final moment of triumph before all is lost.
Except for Broadside, which I find not as exciting as the rest, each song on the album holds up and stands out. Change The World is an exciting, uptempo song, and feels like the ultimate symbiosis of The Matrix and Neuromancer.
The Haunting is melodic metal at its very best and that chorus is simply blessed, whereas Life and Death Under Strange New Stars is the most aggressive song on the album. It is bombastic, epic and overblown, in the most amazing way, a superb balancing act that somehow never tumbles over.
Crown of Starlight ends the album on an even more epic note. Opening with a spiffing keyboard melody, a heavy riff soon takes over. Carried forward by tight drumming and background keyboard magic, the first verse is delivered in a dark, menacing way, and the atmosphere conjured, is deeply mystical. The powerful chorus contrasts this, and as the song builds through multiple phases, ending with a relentless melodic attack on the senses, it is just such a cool feeling. It is a befitting, perfect ending to the album, that just seems to go on and on, into the infinite void of time and space.
The production is splendid throughout, with a clear sound stage, a good separation between instruments, and vocals front and center. I would have wished for a slightly warmer, more analog sound, to make it perfect, but that is something I wish for on pretty much all metal albums nowadays. Keyboard plays a huge role in the atmosphere and fortunately it has just the right volume, clearly audible without taking over the sound, but constantly enhancing the atmosphere. Overall an excellent production and sound.
All Keldian's albums were recently made available for download, at their website, free of charge, which I find pretty amazing. I can not recommend the band, and their albums, highly enough. If you haven't discovered the band yet, I envy you. I enjoyed my discovery phase immensely, and I hope you do the same. I urge you to check them out.
Written By Steen
Online: Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blood Red Dawn