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Kaelling - Lacuna CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.02 | 8 ratings

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4 stars On the release day of this album, I put it on Bandcamp on my computer and let it roll in the background. When chapter one finished, I could tell this wasn't your average Bandcamp debutter.

Kaelling are these two Portuguese guys that released a very ambitious unsigned debut: it's over an hour long, with a concept that is definitely not easy to grasp in its entirety and will require a couple listens. Lacuna is an album that begs the listener's patience, and with this I fear it won't be accessible enough for non-progsnobs. I say that is a fear, because it could jeopardize a second album, and I must say: I *really* want to see another release by Kaelling.

Before the album, the band, and an unique sound to it. You could try pinpointing influences, but one leads to another, that leads to another, and in the end the conclusion is that this is a band that successfully captured elements from artists they like and blended them all in their own identity, which sounds impressive for a debut. There's a lot of Leprous and Haken in the vocals, somewhat of a Haken/Gentle Giant touch all over the instruments' individual tracks, a Karnivool reference every once in a while, Hackett-esque backing guitars, and hell I can even hear Supertramp's keyboards sometimes! A really Katatonian dark atmosphere (album cover is a bit familiar perhaps?), but an unique identity to the sound in the end.

Now, for the record: it has three chapters, each one with three songs. I won't dive in the concept, for such a well-thought one deserves no spoilers. Suffice to say each one has, as the band says, its own identity. This is great, because the songs can work as standalone pieces but get along really well within their chapters. To top it off, the chapters work well within themselves as well. For me, it sounds like the first track of them all are openers, the first two chapters reach their climax in the middle tracks ("Circle" and "Cognition", both my favorites), and the third chapter with this 16-minute epic closing where you can hear all the previous eight (!) songs. This really brings back Haken's Aquarius structure, and I relate this album to Aquarius very often when I listen to it. Perhaps this is a reason why I enjoyed this release so much, because Aquarius is a true masterpiece for me. And also, a debut release.

However, this is not a perfect record. Much of my criticisms of this album are a matter of personal taste, and if Kaelling manages to keep them in a new manner, I'm all for it. First, the cymbals/hi-hats: I often feel they're overused and end up more on the annoying side than actually contributing to the song (for example, when they're gone somewhere around 4- 5mins into "Departure", the song sounds so great). Second, build-ups: when you have such a deep concept, an epic ending and this sort of stuff, build-ups are a great tool, but they must be combined with the instruments' intensity. Very often on Lacuna, they either exist or don't: there's no in between, and that could be a great improvement, for the payoffs we'd get off of that would be so awesome. This leads to another criticism: hooks. Like I said in the beginning, this album requires patience, and hooks could get me back in the record and its concept whenever my brain subconsciously puts it in the background. By no means I'm asking for artificially loud and meaningless hooky lines, but something every once in a while could help a lot on that.

Like I said, these "flaws" are mostly related to personal taste, and nothing stops Kaelling from keeping all these elements, rearranging them and making them sound really neat. The way they convey it here will only keep me from giving this album 5 stars.

The list of where K'lling hits just right is much bigger, and totally justifies why everyone should give this a couple spins. The cohesion, even with silence-only song transitions, is really outstanding, as everything flows so naturally it looks like a big jam with some pauses sometimes. The musicianship and Leprous-like vocal harmonies with and without growls stand out everywhere there is singing. The gentle guitar accompanying the songs guides you through the lyrics, going along so well with the bass. All of that along the dark and profound concept and structure yields a 4-4.5 star release.

I really hope this band puts out a new album soon, and I really hope it's a five-star one.

guiservidoni | 4/5 |


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