Sunday, November 5, 2017

Keldian - Darkness And Light (2017)

The Norweigan duo Keldian blew me away like a supernova in 2013 with the record "Outbound", an album that quickly became one of my favourites of the year with its infectious and nostalgic power metal that had a clear sci-fi theme going with it. But this band is more than a single genre can explain. The love child of Arild Aardalen and Christer Andresen taps in to a lot of 80's rock, as well as that decade's synth movement. It is a strange combo, but when all comes together, it becomes a very uplifting experience.

So "Darkness And Light" is their fourth release, and it is not too far off from their previous efforts, it is unmistakeably Keldian in this album. The way that they can take such simple components and still make such compelling music is just astounding, it never gets tired or stale. You will never hear this band steer out into complex solos or perform any impressive drum fills, it is basic music at its finest.

With that said, "Darkness And Light" might be one of the more underwhelming albums of the band's discography. Do not get me wrong, this is an enjoyable album, but I do not feel like the magic that their previous releases had is here. It is hard to pin point why, but it might be that they rely a little too much on the 80's sound here, and that the space vibe does not get enough room to shine. There are several parts of the album that just feels too nostalgic, too dated to be released in this millennium, and that is normally a line they have balanced pretty well, but does not do that quite as well this time around.

There are also some songs in here that just feels off, not coming out as bright stars. The giant epic in the middle, the close to 13 minute long "I'm The Last of Us", has some neat ideas, but it is just way too long for its own good. I love long songs, but they have to have a purpose to be long, and I do not see any reasons for this track to be this long. Then we have both "Broadside!" and "The Haunting", two songs that are just drenched in 80's AOR goop, and it just becomes too much for me to handle. Maybe my mother will like this tracks, she absolutely loves 80's music.

Still, we do get several fantastic moments and songs that makes the album worth its staying. The typical ultra catchy, single worthy tracks are here, like the ultra epic "Life And Death Under Strange New Suns" and the very joyful opener "Nightfall". Both are easily likeable and very addictive sing along songs that gets you going. And then we have "Crown of Starlight" that is just pure magic in a bottle, relying on simple, but effective, riffing, together with a steadfast tempo that keeps the blood of the song pumping to a scream worthy chorus that keeps going on and on in the end. It ends the album in a fantastic way, leaving you with an ear to ear grin on your face.

So while "Darkness And Light" has its share of problems, and it could even be considered the weakest album Keldian has put out to this date, it is still a very enjoyable experience that fans of the band are gonna love. The usual Keldian magic is here, and they have not lost their ability to create something magnificent and epic from simple ingredients. This album has some dark moments, and some light moments, but it is still Keldian, it is sci-fi music that Starlord should be considering when he creates his third "Awesome mix", just in time for that infinity war.

Songs worthy of recognition: Crown of Starlight, Blood Red Dawn, Life And Death Under Strange New Suns, Change The World

Rating: 7,5/10 Nightfalls

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