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A Progressive Black Metal supergroup from Brooklyn, NY, consisting of Colin Marston (Gorguts, Behold the Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, etc.), Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Octis, etc.), Nicholas McMaster (Bloody Panda, Geryon, etc.), and Lev Weinstein (Bloody Panda, Geryon, etc.). Krallice has gained a substantial amount of critical acclaim for its blend of Black Metal, Progressive Metal, and Math Rock. Krallice's songs tend to be long and unusually technical by black metal standards, with most of them exceeding ten minutes and featuring particularly clean production for the genre. The band has been likened to "Steve Reich playing very dense Progressive Rock". They have also earned comparisons to Weakling, although Krallice focuses more on Progressive Rock song structures and less on Drone of Dread than Weakling does. As of January 2019, the band has released eight full-length albums, three EPs, and a single.

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Discography

  • Krallice (2008)
  • Dimensional Bleedthrough (2009)
  • Diotima (2011)
  • "Traditional" (single, 2011)
  • Orphan of Sickness (EP, 2011)
  • Years Past Matter (2012)
  • Ygg huur (2015)
  • Hyperion (EP, 2016, recorded in 2013)
  • Prelapsarian (2016)
  • Loüm (2017, collaboration with Dave Edwardson of Neurosis)
  • Go Be Forgotten (2017)
  • Wolf (EP, 2019)

Lineup

  • Mick Barr - Guitars, vocals
  • Colin Marston - Guitars
  • Nicholas McMaster - Bass, vocals
  • Lev Weinstein - Drums

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Tropes

  • Album Intro Track: Diotima has one. Despite the fact that it leads onto a different track on the vinyl edition than on the CD, it's the same intro for both versions of the album.
  • Black Metal: Albeit an unusually technical variant with cleaner production than usual.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: "Rank Mankind" explicitly has this theme. It's also implicit on most of the other songs on Loüm, with the title track being the main exception.
  • Cover Song/Cover Album:
    • The Orphan of Sickness EP consists of covers of the band Orphan, which explains why the songs are shorter than usual. The EP was a tribute to Brendan Majewski, who died in January 2011, and the band released it for free because they didn't want to make money from it. (It's currently on Bandcamp as a pay-what-you-want download, but when it was initially released, it wasn't even available for purchase; it could only be downloaded for free.)
    • The "Traditional" single is a cover of a song by Hardcore Punk/Metalcore band Rorschach; later versions of Orphan of Sickness have appended it.
    • A brief track entitled "Trippin Balls Intro", a cover of hardcore punk band Jasta 14, is available both on re-releases of Orphan of Sickness and on the Japanese version of Ygg huur (where it's just called "Trippin Balls"). In a blatant case of Non-Indicative Name, it's actually the last track on both releases. Barr is a former member of Jasta 14, making the song somewhat of a self-cover, and it was evidently recorded as a tribute to two of his recently deceased bandmates.
    • Finally, "This Forest for Which We Have Killed" on Go Be Forgotten is a cover of the Title Track of obscure U.S. black metal band Beastlor's demo.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Much like Shiina Ringo's, their track lists are often symmetrical in some way (and sometimes in several ways), though their examples aren't always as obvious as hers. There's further elucidation under Epic Rocking.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • Go Be Forgotten, which also abandons the band's usual logo for a blackletter logo that looks reminiscent of '90s black metal logos. This is rather fitting given that the album itself is something of a tribute to '90s black metal.
    • The LP edition of the self-titled album also has a monochrome colour scheme for the outer gatefold; the CD artwork has more of a sepia tone to it. (The CD artwork is included in the inner gatefold of the LP.)
  • Drone of Dread: They don't do this much by black metal standards, but the untitled interlude on Dimensional Bleedthrough is one case where they do. Quite a few songs begin and end with guitar amp feedback, but that's something different entirely.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Often the vocals don't enter until several minutes into a song.
  • Epic Rocking: Nearly all of their songs. Particularly prime examples are "Forgiveness in Rot" (15:21), "Monolith of Possession" (18:43), and "IIIIIIIIIIII" (16:41). They dialled this back a bit on Ygg huur, but the songs on Hyperion and Prelapsarian, apart from "Hate Power", are back to being close to a typical length for them (note, however, that Hyperion was recorded before Ygg huur, despite its later release date). Excluding intro tracks, interludes, and covers, the number of tracks they'd released through 2016 that don't top the six-minute mark can be counted on one hand ("The Mountain", "Idols", "Engram", "Hate Power"). 2017 gave us a few more ("Rank Mankind", "Retrogenesis", "Failed Visionary Cults", "Chaos of the Living"), but both album they released that year still have more songs that fall into this trope than not. For the record, a complete list of songs above six minutes:
    • Krallice: "Wretched Wisdom" (10:14), "Cnestorial" (10:42), "Molec Codices" (9:35), "Timehusk" (6:04), "Energy Chasms" (9:45), and "Forgiveness in Rot" (15:21) - so, in other words, the entire album.
    • Dimensional Bleedthrough: "Dimensional Bleedthrough" (11:10), "Autochthon" (9:29), "Aridity" (14:50), "Intraum" (11:36), "Untitled" (8:07), "Monolith of Possession" (18:43) - so all songs except "The Mountain". It may be worth noting that there is something of a symmetry to the track list; each odd-numbered track is above ten minutes, and each even-numbered track is below ten minutes. The longest track titles also belong to the first and last songs, with the fourth song coming in third. And finally, the fourth song is also the shortest song on the album. It's worth noting that the LP edition doesn't even list the untitled track, making the symmetry somewhat less obvious.
    • Diotima: "Inhume" (6:53), "The Clearing" (12:05), "Diotima" (12:27), "Litany of Regrets" (13:39), "Telluric Rings" (12:08), "Dust and Light" (9:35) - so every song except the brief intro. And again, we see an example of symmetry among the actual songs, with the album starting and ending with shorter songs (in fact, if considered as one track, the intro and "Inhume" are about nine minutes long, which would balance the track lengths out even further), while the album's midsection contains only songs above twelve minutes. (For audio quality reasons, the symmetry is abandoned on the vinyl edition, where "The Clearing" is placed before "Inhume" in order to provide better balance to the LP side lengths.note )
    • Orphan of Sickness: This is their only release apart from the "Traditional" single not to contain a single example (perhaps not coincidentally, since these two are their only releases to consist solely of covers), but "Fetus in fetu", at 5:59, surely deserves an honourable mention for just missing the cutoff for this trope.
    • Years Past Matter: "IIIIIII" (8:19), "IIIIIIII" (11:12), "IIIIIIIII" (12:13), "IIIIIIIIII" (10:26), "IIIIIIIIIIII" (16:41) - so the whole album except "IIIIIIIII".
    • Hyperion: "Hyperion" (7:26), "The Guilt of Time" (6:10), and "Assuming Memory" (10:16) - so all three songs.
    • Ygg huur: A downplayed example compared to their other albums, but "Wastes of Ocean", "Over Spirit", "Tyranny of Thought", and "Bitter Meditation" all qualify. They all have the same length, too: 6:41 (in fact their lengths on the CD version are actually exactly identical, down to the CD frame - six minutes, forty-one seconds, and thirty-eight CD frames, or just over half a second). And again, we see a symmetry to the track list, as these are tracks two through five on an album with six tracks.
    • Prelapsarian: "Transformation Chronicles" (12:29), "Configuration" (7:44), and "Lotus Throne" (10:41). This is yet another example of symmetry, as the longest songs bookend the album.
    • Loüm: "Etemenanki" (8:22), "Loüm" (8:01), and "Kronus Deposed" (6:57).
    • Go Be Forgotten: "This Forest For Which We Have Killed" (8:11), "Go Be Forgotten" (10:50), "Quadripartite Mirror Realm" (7:33), and "Ground Prayer" (9:46).
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Cnestorial" into "Molec Codices", as well as most songs on Diotima and Prelapsarian, with exceptions for LP side gaps (the intro on Diotima into either "Inhume" or "The Clearing" is probably the most obvious example on either of these two records by far, though).
  • Gratuitous Panning: Barr's guitars are almost always mixed far to one channel, with Marston's far to the other. It's not really gratuitous, though, as the separation is necessary for the listener to be able to fully comprehend the band's complex instrumental interplay, and it also makes their albums even better listening on headphones. Lev Weinstein's drums are also usually mixed with pretty wide usage of stereo separation.
  • Harsh Vocals: McMaster's vocals tend to be these.
  • Heavy Mithril: A lot of their lyrics seem to fall into science fiction, fantasy, or mythological themes. "Hyperion", in particular, is apparently inspired by Classical Mythology and John Keats' unfinished epic poem The Fall of Hyperion; there's also a possibility that it was additionally somewhat inspired by Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos (which was itself inspired by mythology and Keats' poem as well as The Canterbury Tales), though it doesn't seem to make any direct references to Simmons' novels.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Not helped by the fact that the first album doesn't feature complete printed lyrics (though they have since been released); meanwhile, the lyrics for "Intraum" and "Monolith of Possession" from Dimensional Bleedthrough don't seem to have been released at all. The lyrics to Go Be Forgotten aren't available online yet, either; it's not clear whether CD/LP editions will contain them.
  • Instrumentals: The untitled interlude from Dimensional Bleedthrough, the untitled intro from Diotima, "IIIIIIIIIII" from Years Past Matter, and "Quadripartite Mirror Realm" and "Outro" from Go Be Forgotten.
  • Lighter and Softer: Not to the same level as, say, Alcest, but they're a lot less evil sounding than most other black metal bands. Their cleaner production helps in this regard. It should be noted that this is very much a Downplayed Trope, however, as the screams, blast beats, heavily distorted, tremolo-picked guitars, and other intense aspects of black metal are still very much present in Krallice's music; it just has a somewhat less oppressive atmosphere than typical black metal.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: A large number of their longest compositions are mostly instrumental and only have vocals over a short part of the piece.
  • Loudness War: Since Colin Marston usually does the mastering, this tends to be an averted trope. Albums tend to come out around DR8 (Dimensional Bleedthrough is slightly louder at DR7, while Orphan of Sickness and Loüm are slightly quieter at DR9), with vinyl versions often being more dynamic. Note that "Litany of Regrets" intentionally uses compression as an artistic element, but it's still not compressed enough to be an example of this trope. Prelapsarian and Go Be Forgotten are even better than the band's previous output at DR10.
  • Math Rock: They've been compared to the genre by a number of critics, which, given their penchant for using unusual time signatures, probably won't come as much of a surprise.
  • Metal Scream: Barr's vocals tend to be examples of type three, while McMaster's are usually closer to type two. Edwardson's vocals on Loüm fall largely into type one.
  • Miniscule Rocking: The entire Orphan of Sickness EP, "Traditional", "Timehusk", "IIIIIIIIIII", "The Mountain", "Idols", "Engram", "Hate Power", "Retrogenesis", "Failed Visionary Cults", "Chaos of the Living", "Outro", and the intro to Diotima are this by the band's standards. This is only by Krallice standards, however; of all these songs, only "IIIIIIIIIII" is under two minutes.
    • Wolf adds the 15-second interlude ".:." to the list, if that counts. The songs in general are also short by Krallice standards, with two others ("The Mound" and "Time Rendered Omni") being under three minutes and none topping the six-minute mark.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly 10, with a few 9s (e.g., "Forgiveness in Rot"). Some people may find "Litany of Regrets" to border on 11 due to the jackhammer compression effect, but it probably isn't quite heavy enough to qualify. Occasional interludes dip lower.
  • New Sound Album: Ygg huur displays more Technical Death Metal influence (and less Black Metal influence) and the songs are a lot shorter. It's still every bit as technical and progressive as their earlier stuff, though; it simply has more ideas crammed into shorter songs. The music they've recorded since then has tended to be something of a mixture of this style and their older one; it's also sometimes gone in unexpected directions (the odd vocals on "Hate Power", for example). Hyperion is a clear throwback to their older sound, but was recorded before Ygg huur, in 2013. Go Be Forgotten, recorded as a deliberate throwback to '90s black metal, also sometimes has more in common with their first few albums.
  • Nightmare Face: The CD edition of Dimensional Bleedthrough has one on its cover. The LP edition has an entirely different cover with a rather trippy landscape.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Trippin Balls Intro" has been used as a bonus track on two separate occasions (the re-release of Orphan of Sickness and the Japanese edition of Ygg huur). In both cases, it was actually the last track on the album.
  • No Title: The instrumental sixth track of Dimensional Bleedthrough isn't given a title. In fact, it isn't even listed in the track listing of the LP version. The intro of Diotima also isn't really given a title; it's labelled with "-" on the LP sleeve insert. For that matter, the tracks on Years Past Matter could be considered borderline examples, as they're titled with just ever-increasing numbers of "I"s (going from seven on the first track to twelve on the last).
  • Progressive Rock: A major influence on their sound, to the extent that they're frequently better reviewed on Prog Archives than on Metal Archives (which has a lot of genre purists).
  • Protest Song: "Hate Power" is a protest against bigotry. "Rank Mankind" is one as well; see Capitalism Is Bad above. Actually, a lot of Loüm seems to fall into this trope, though the title track has more abstract and philosophical themes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The lyrics to "Inhume" were adapted from the works of Stéphane Mallarmé (specifically, "Homage", "Tomb (January 1897)", "Tomb of Charles Baudelaire", and "Tomb of Edgar Poe").
    • The lyrics to "Diotima" reference Friedrich Hölderlin (specifically, "Ode to Diotima", "Memory", and "Her Recovery").
    • The title of Orphan of Sickness, despite the EP being a Cover Album of the sludge metal band Orphan, also refers to a song by Gorguts, a band of which Colin Marston now qualifies as a Promoted Fanboy, being as he is its bassist.
    • "Hyperion", as mentioned above, seems to be one to John Keats' unfinished epic The Fall of Hyperion.
    • The lyrics to "The Mountain" were apparently taken from a text fragment by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
  • Something Completely Different: "Quadripartite Mirror Realm" is an ambient/dungeon synth track. The untitled interlude on Dimensional Bleedthrough is basically a drone metal track (though it keeps the trademark tremolo picking of black metal).
  • Soprano and Gravel: The vocals on "Hate Power" are particularly bizarre, with a strange screamed/sung hybrid vocal style being alternated with the band's usual death/black metal-style vocals.
  • Special Guest: Dave Edwardson of Neurosis sits in for the entire Loüm album, playing vintage synthesizers and contributing vocals.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Krallice' official Bandcamp has the fifth track title on Loüm as "Kronus Deposed"; Gilead Media's official Bandcamp and the LP release both have it as "Khronos Deposed". It's not entirely clear which is intended to be correct.
  • Stylistic Suck: Averted. They originally planned to use lo-fi production for their recordings, but it wound up obscuring the details of the group's instrumental interplay, so they've used more professional recording techniques than are typical for Black Metal on all their releases. Go Be Forgotten is arguably a downplayed example, as it was deliberately created to be more reminiscent of '90s black metal than their typical output, but it still has more professional production than the genre typically used at the time, and it's still more complex musically than most examples (except maybe Enslaved and Immortal) as well. Played extremely straight with Marston's one-off project/studio fuckery Containor (also featuring John Longstreth and Joe DeBlase), which was described by John as "the album that hates you and doesn't want to be bought" and consists of nonstop blastbeats and gratuitous fills from John with various annoying noises layered on top.
  • Supergroup: All of the band members were known from other groups before they formed Krallice, although Krallice is now arguably the best-known project for several of them (Marston has Gorguts, though).
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Quadripartite Mirror Realm" and "Outro".
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Again, averted, or possibly even inverted. They're one of the most head-spinningly complex black metal acts out there.
  • Uncommon Time: They're prog; it kind of comes with the territory. One example is "Over Spirit", which contains a riff in 5/4. Similarly, "Wretched Wisdom" contains a riff in 9/4. Other songs get more complicated. A variant of this trope that also sometimes shows up is the usage of patterns of unusual numbers of Common Time measures (e.g., patterns of five, seven, or nine measures). And at other times they'll subvert it; for example, "Intraum" contains one segment with alternating bars of 9/8 and 7/8... which add up to 16/8.
  • Vocal Tag Team: McMaster's vocals tend to be lower pitched and more Death Metal-like than Barr's. This mostly happens on the releases starting with Diotima; McMaster doesn't have many vocals on the first two albums (that's him on "The Mountain", though). Edwardson also qualifies as part of the vocal tag-team on Loüm.
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