Being the misanthrope that I am, I often find myself wishing for Armageddon. No more religious leaders, no more politicians, no more salesmen, no more suffering. Because, let’s face it folks: our mindless fucking, fighting, and consuming has destroyed this once bountiful little blue marble that we call Earth and there is no redeeming ourselves. The only things that might have saved us were instead scorned, discarded, and forgotten.
And yet I must contradict myself. I continually choose to wage my own righteous battles regardless of the inevitable outcome; not in the streets of Afghanistan or the brush of Colombia, but an intellectual one fought against the corrupting influences that have worked to tear us apart. I suppose I do it because somewhere within me, under my cynical and pessimistic exterior, lay the glimmering embers of optimism and hope.
Sharing this duality is yet another talented band from Germany; KadavriK is a five-piece melodic death/black metal hybrid that likes to oscillate back and forth between harmony and dissonance, good and evil, hope and despair. Both in their instrumentation as well as in their words, this struggle presents itself in their upcoming album, “N.O.A.H.“, in a morbidly fascinating manner. Blackened shrieks are juxtaposed against haunting keys, intricate guitar riffs are set against heavy blast-beats, and lyrical themes range from the dream-like to the nightmarish. In fact, while the first seven songs are performed entirely in English, the last four songs are done entirely German.
This playful synthesis of contradictory elements is precisely what makes “N.O.A.H.” such a compelling album. Similar to treading the choppy waters of the ocean; each rise and fall, every rhythm and segue serves both to disorient and to enlighten. My only gripe is that after several play-throughs the material becomes a bit stale. But still, there is much here that rewards the listener with it’s craft as well as it’s vision.
The English-language portion of the album focuses on not just the usual tropes of anger and hatred, but also on meditations on love, loss, and the ever-so-familiar desire to find one’s place within the world. Among the many highlights of this first portion include the track “High Rollin’” which features the vocalist of Harasai, Arne Lassen. I’m usually wary of bands that try to throw some clean-singing into the mix because it often just ruins the flow of the music, but like so many other variations on KadavriK’s style, I was happily surprised when it worked out wonderfully on this song.
In the German-language portion of the album, the concept of an interplanetary Ark is the focus, and while the Biblical Ark was created to replenish our forsaken planet after God’s wrathful flood, the tragedy of “N.O.A.H.” is that this time the wrath was that of humankind against itself. And instead of valiantly coming to the rescue of us all, it merely crashes and burns Earth’s refugees alive; a fiery elegy for our species and a metaphor not unlike the tale of Icarus.
For those of you who enjoy the likes of Kalmah and Wintersun, I’d highly recommend KadavriK‘s new album when it comes out on January 20th. The year 2012 is definitely off to a great start with this release, which bears some irony since this is also the year our world is supposedly going to end. Must things always be darkest before the light? Such is the conundrum.