(Review as done on Reaving Black.)
Another fantastic find from Zivon at Brutal Pokhara is Nepali Symphonic Black Metallers Kalodin and their new e.p release Sarv. Like Tantrum, this band are well-versed in the workings of the Western mainstream and have produced something that is slick and structured and as well as being twisted and dark. Their music is, bluntly put, marketable, with a fair-sized nod towards bands like Dimmu Borgir as well as the traditional Symphomaniacs like Emperor and a few more idiosyncratic influences. Even the photography on their myspace looks professional. Sadly, as with Tantrum and, I’m beginning to suspect, lots of other South-Asian bands, their nationality is likely to condemn them to a ‘cult’ status that their sound isn’t really suited to. If Kalodin hailed from Kidderminster not Kathmandu they’d be releasing their own brand of eye-liner by now. Unfortunately for them, They’re stuck on Reaving Black.
That’s not to say Kalodin are just mainstream wannabes either, though. Their sound is far too intense and with far too much depth to be pigeonholed as so much vacuous, Cradle of Filth posturing. Underneath the symphonic ambience lies a band with a firm understanding of melodies and chord progressions and not just a flat Black Metal monotone. The band are technically proficient, too, although this fact isn’t something that they feel the need to shove down our throats at every given moment. I even got the odd snatch of a snaking, Dissection-esque melodic riff and that ‘eastern’ hallmark of frenetic, Melechesh-inspired dischord. In fact, Sarv manages to merge a number of styles of extreme metal playing, and even a particularly inspired piece of Sitar playing, without ever over-reaching its ambition or outstretching the band’s capabilities.
The result is that Sarv is a consistently engaging and involving listen and the work of a band who are creative, competent, professional and generally far too good to be floundering around the pages of a few webzines.
-Ro McNulty (Reaving Black)