May 11th, 2011

Krallice's Diotima Reviewed By Pitchfork.

Krallice's latest crushing epic Diotima (released 4/26/11) received a respectable 7.6 rated album review from P-fork today.

Originally posted on May 11th 2011:

" It must have been during the fifth or sixth listen when I finally realized that the appropriate reaction for Diotima-- the third album in four years from New York black metal supergroup Krallice-- was laughter. That's a surprising response to a record that lyrically keys on the transience of existence, the failures of our best efforts, and the high costs of man's lowly sexual instincts. But my chuckle was the delirious sort, based on my own addled exhaustion. That's how Diotima works: Unapologetically extreme and intense, it's the most relentless album from a hyper-dexterous band that's never been one to take it easy. Though it's not the longest Krallice album (that's Dimensional Bleedthrough, slightly), Diotima forgoes the long-short-long tack of previous Krallice efforts, creating marathons out of marathons that demand complete attention and destroy attention spans.

During "Intraum", from 2008's Dimensional Bleedthrough, Krallice took a break from their four-piece hustle. Guitarists Mick Barr and Colin Marston ricocheted through quick, countering riffs until the sound sublimated into a restless seven-minute drone. It's an off-ramp ahead of the album's appropriately titled 19-minute closer, "Monolith of Possession", a long-form roar whose pummeling is precise and seemingly perpetual. Halfway through, you realize just how much that pause meant. Nearly 10 minutes into "Telluric Rings", Diotima's penultimate track, you can hear Krallice reaching for the same rest-stop trick. It stands to be a well-deserved rest, too, as "Telluric Rings" is the fourth and final consecutive track on Diotima to race past the 12-minute mark. What's more, it's written as a lyrical sequel to the preceding "Litany of Regrets", meaning that, when Lev Weinstein's drums finally snap out here, it ends a mostly seamless 22-minute cavalcade. But don't rest easy: Marston and Barr noodle and slink for about 80 seconds, summoning a dark radiance with sheaths of distortion. Weinstein blasts back in, and the track's last 90 seconds offer a raze as energetic and complete as any in the band's discography. So brutal and mean, the track's closing blur is a perfectly executed nexus between grindcore and black metal, as cathartic as it is crushing.

Diotima's glory is often in its details. It has fewer stops, starts, and redirections than its predecessors. Rather, the big shifts are now often misleadingly subtle and slight, created more by the way the musicians move against and with each other than how the band moves as a unit. In theory, it's not unlike studying a Steve Reich phase piece, where patterns show themselves best when their relationships with one another change. Or, as McMaster explained to Chad Bowar, "Essentially, we wanted to have more unison parts, to amplify the contrast between when we'd all play the same riff and when the guitars and bass would split off into independent lines."

Indeed, this is the first album on which McMaster has written all of his bass parts, and his unexpected risks make this thundering gauntlet worth hearing at high volume, with high-end headphones. During "Inhume", for instance, the quartet is playing in strict unison when McMaster steps out of the pack, adding low, lumbering lines that sandbag the whole section. It’s a smart redirection, a moment worth hearing again and again. It’s technical black metal that thankfully never puts its own technicality above the bold ideas in its songs.

Diotima has broadly accessible glimpses: The central riff in "The Clearing" supplies all the majesty and power of a Sousa march-- memorable enough to hum, triumphant enough for pumped fists. Writing for Pop Matters, Adrien Begrand correctly called the title track "genuinely catchy" as it moves from "a cruising sludge groove... [into] the frenzied blast beats we know so well from these guys." But the album's emphasis on movement within the songs and within the parts makes it ultimately less dynamic and dramatic, at least on initial listens; the obvious bloodlust of Dimensional Bleedthrough comes funneled into a full assault that might be mistaken for monotony, especially compared to the latest by Brooklyn black metal brethren Liturgy. That's too bad, though, as Krallice's levels of composition and performance have never been higher-- so high, in fact, it's laughable.— Grayson Currin, May 11, 2011
"

Purchase Diotima on CD or MP3 download HERE.

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