Monday, December 5, 2011

Album Review: Krisiun - The Great Execution

Krisiun - The Great Execution
(2011 Century Media)

Although there are certain bands of which I am a fan, whose output may not always impress me as much as a "favorite" band should, I find myself more and more drawn to albums that are interesting enough to listen to repeatedly, regardless of whose name is on the cover.  I am not a Krisiun fan, mostly because in my previous (and brief) listens to their earlier material, I just wasn't that interested.  Brutality and speed are both hallmarks of death metal to be sure, and nowhere more apparent than in Krisiun's music, but my tastes always lean more toward creative songwriting first and "extreme" qualities second.  Talented though they certainly are, Krisiun never "clicked" for me in the past, but The Great Execution has changed that, and dramatically so. 

It should be pointed out immediately that diehard Krisiun fans might indeed be a little put off by some elements of The Great Execution.  "Krisiun doesn't do slow songs," said my bandmate Alex, who is indeed a Krisiun fan and who encouraged me to buy the album, "but I like this."  Now, I wouldn't consider anything here slower than what I'd call mid-paced, but it's definitely different from what I remember of Krisiun's prior work.  The songs are more dynamic, which in turn allows some of the truly memorable guitar and drum performances to be better appreciated than in a constant top-speed assault.  Acoustic guitar passages are scattered throughout and expertly integrated, and Max Colesne's flawless use of toms at every called-for opportunity contributes to an epic feel that blast beats and double-kick alone can't adequately convey.

One of the characteristics of Krisiun that I find unique is how they achieve a convincing live-sounding mix that isn't beyond the realm of belief for a three-piece band.  Sure, there are plenty of places where separate lead/rhythm guitar tracks are used, but none of these songs would sound wrong performed live by a trio.  The bass gets a little too quiet in a few places, but generally the mix is full and balanced without any one instrument overpowering the others.  Alex Camargo possesses one of those voices that combines the right blend of growling and clean vocals to sound suitably pissed off, and like the instruments is right where he should be in the mix.  If you want to hear what everyone in the band is doing all the time, this is the album for you.

A few of the songs probably could be pared down slightly due to some repetition (the album is roughly an hour long) but there aren't any duds.  Overall, my take on The Great Execution is that it's still very much a death metal album by a veteran band that could appeal to new listeners and hopefully not alienate existing fans.  It has put Krisiun back on my radar, and I feel that it deserves a perfect 5 out of 5.

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