Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Victims of their own evolution - 55%

Felix 1666, November 9th, 2019

Ketzer from Germany is one of those bands that think change is a value in itself. Well, some formations need surely more change, because in some cases, every kind of change would mean an increase of quality. But the brigade of heretics ("Ketzer") started with a perfect debut - and this means that change can become your greatest enemy. And that's exactly the fact here, because the stylistic odyssey resulted in lukewarm, over-ambitious and partly pseudo-academic albums. Now comes "Cloud Collider". It does not bring back the early days, but it has more power than its predecessor. Honestly speaking, they try to regain their old fan base - and this makes the whole change process all the more strange.

The album is my pill to schizophrenia. On the one hand, the group still consists of brilliant musicians who are able to create fantastic black thrash. On the other hand, I doubt their authenticity. In its best moments, "Cloud Collider" sounds like "Satan's Boundaries Unchained" without the juvenile energy of the debut. In the other moments, it conveys the vibes of a band that wants to be taken very seriously while showing its musical maturity. Many bands say they play the music mainly for itself and I am sure this is almost always a lie. But Ketzer might be one of those formations that have this mentality. Don't know. I just can say that they sit between the stools. Despite the raw vocals and some harsh attacks, the album does not have the dirt and snot of typical black thrash, but it also does not appeal to friends of adult metal.

The well-balanced production combines transparency and power so there is nothing to complain in this respect. Either way, Ketzer were always stable in terms of technical challenges and their manual skills are beyond doubt. But exactly this is the reason why it is all the more regrettable that they do not know their musical direction anymore. A solid number of tracks has exciting parts, but only a few of them, for example the multi-layered "(The Taste of) Rust and Bone", really leave a good overall impression. Every now and then some riffs appear which seem to be (pretty strong) leftovers of the debut, but you cannot recreate the same effect with this kind of approach. Ketzer should go home, take a tea, a Joint or whatever they like and think about what they want to be. Everything else is a waste of time, or, to be more polite, results in a sonic document that cannot hide its weaknesses. Or, final alternative, maybe it just needs a more open-minded listener than I am.

Originally written for

Ketzchup - 77%

Sweetie, April 12th, 2019

Ketzer, which translates to “heretic” in German, produce a rather compelling compound of metals which started as a blackened thrash act back in the formative days. With their upcoming album Cloud Collider, they bring on more distortion effects and melo-death like features to go with it. The end product is a sinister piece with instrumentation smeared together that relies heavily on tremolo picks and exceptional drumming (the cymbal clashes and tapping are especially out of this world).

Planting the seeds for these newer innovations forced some of the old stylistics out, leaving little in the realm of thrash riffs. Instead, the picking style and borderline “gaze” overlay mesh with melodic riffs to create songs like “Walls,” dominated by higher pitched tones and a misty atmosphere. The appropriately named title track “Cloud Collider” captures the mist and instead lays it atop black metal aesthetics, giving it a far more menacing feel. The harsh vocal outbursts on this one also have a hotter bite to them, complimenting the musical structure very well.

For the most part, this is how Cloud Collider plays out ’til the end, making it a release better heard in full. The downfall is that it’s a bit long, and by the last couple of tracks, I’m ready to move on to something else. “The Wind Brings Them Horses” kicks off the second half, which is probably my personal favorite track thanks to it standing out significantly. Stompy chord progressions that mold into straightforward blasts give it a strong aura and the drumming here is some of their best. On the other hand, the bottom half also holds “No Stories Left,” containing even throatier shrieks as backing vocals, and beefy bass passages. Beyond this, the rest of the record drags.

Chaos is a key factor to a lot of the architecture here, and overall it’s a pleasant listen. It took me four spins to completely digest because there is so much going on, but Ketzer have a good sense of songwriting and did a solid job of setting themselves apart from the pack. Trimming the end wouldn’t have hurt at all, but I suppose adventures like this one were meant to be on the lengthier side.

Originally written for Indy Metal Vault