Kolp – The Outside

The first time I played Kolp’s The Outside, my first thought was “Burzum worship”, but I couldn’t escape the notion that there was something far more interesting going on underneath the surface. The clean production applied to the droning, murderous guitar hiss immediately provides first track ‘There Was No Place To Hide” a modern punch that’s unexpected but doesn’t undermine the minimalist approach that Hungarians Knot and Jim Jones have adopted. Traditionalism is, without a doubt, on display here, but the Second -Wave Norwegian rawness develops via the writing rather than through primitive sound engineering, flying in the face of like-minded bands. While many are seeking to expand BM’s horizons through experimentation (and I generally welcome that), I’m chuffed to know some musicians can still create a cold fog of sound through guitar, bass, and tortured vocals alone, without replicating note-for-note that which has gone before. While the repeating and staccato-picked chording found on tracks like ‘The Drowning’ aren’t surprising (we expect bastard Burzum children to express themselves this way), the oddly comforting overall feel of this album is. And though there are blast beats, most songs have that Filosofem cadence, and an understated but very real doom resonance – applied through slow, driving tempos and riffs – that can be hard to discern at first. Once you do, you will admire the influence’s subtle (but noteworthy) effect upon your mood.

Both ‘The Drowning’ and ‘The Void and the Silence’ invoke Hvis Lyset Tar Oss-style riffing, but we aren’t dealing with plagiarism here. Every song, including the aforementioned, is offset nicely by what sounds like a hardcore vocalist’s voice wailing dirges about the brevity and meaninglessness of life. Other less obvious but still provocative punk-isms rear their heads on cuts like ‘The Completion’, such as the looping, ‘beeping’ aspect of the intro riff reminiscent of The Misfits (or proto-punks The Monks). With this obscure musical accent, as well as others like it lurking beneath the static haze, shadows of Kolp’s predecessors forcibly propel the song, and with ‘The Completion”s distorted bass denouement, the track victoriously argues for itself to be considered best of the album.

Understand that The Outside is not campaigning for the most unusual black metal album of the year. Not every frozen-riffed album should anyway, for each would risk fading forgotten into the background. If creating good, memorable songs remained the ultimate goal of these past-aware BM partisans, then Kolp have quietly triumphed. -Jim

-Temple of Torturous

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~ by cliftonium on October 24, 2012.

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