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even the cover is simple - 60%

Noktorn, January 7th, 2012

I suppose the politically correct word for bands like Krisiun these days is "consistent"; I saw them once opening for Behemoth and Morbid Angel, and while I can't tell you what song they played, it was a pretty good one. I was just surprised by it being a half hour long...

Krisiun does not thrive on variation or experimentation- they have, like many bands before them, arrived at a relatively simple formula and take pride in sticking with it. With the high-minded aspirations of Jungle Rot and the expansive musical pallet of Bolt Thrower, the band has for over twenty years now firmly stuck to the "less is more" philosophy which is written all over their music. They get points for perfection of a certain aesthetic, I suppose; while it's essentially impossible to tell one Krisiun track from another, I can't say I've heard one which actually strikes me as bad. The lexicon of blast beats and tremolo riffs is a small but elegant one, and Krisiun proves that you can do a lot with the two- a lot of the same, certainly, but a lot.

"Bloodshed" is some sort of mixture of unreleased tracks and a handful of songs from the earlier "Unmerciful Order" EP- it's not entirely clear what the goal is, and I'm hardly interested enough to start researching, but compilation or not, the music comes across with basically the same impression no matter how many years between songs might have elapsed. For those who haven't heard Krisiun: a death metal version of norsecore, perhaps, or Vader stripped of the lingering thrash influence. Rivers of blast beats endlessly flow alongside equally endless amounts of tremolo riffing, only occasionally breaking the perpetual breakneck tempo for a martial rhythmic stomp or needling solo. The gruff, half-shouted, half-growled vocals command the listener into battle, and... eh, I'm running out of clever imagery. Krisiun plays very fast, very intense (but not "brutal") death metal that's generally pretty one-dimensional but without the artsy implications you can read into something like Enmity. It's probably the most extreme and monodimensional music an oldschool death metal fan could claim to like.

None of it's bad simply because it doesn't really have enough personality or chances taken to BE bad- Krisiun know how to write tremolo riffs and blast beats and stick to that formula with such dedication that no chance for a bug in the system to arise ever emerges. The riffs are solid, mostly dissonant or hellishly melodic numbers, like a mixture of mid-era Cannibal Corpse and a straightened-out Morbid Angel, the drums are... consistent, and the vocals monotonously angry enough to meet my approval. It's as straightforward as death metal gets, and its lack of frills both prevents it from developing a personality and prevents it from ever stumbling.

My summary, which can be applied to basically any Krisiun release: fun for a while, grating by the end of the album, probably worth a purchase if you find it for under $5.