Today is a first for me. I’m writing a review on an album and I’m not even sure what I’m listening to and what is going on. With that statement said, let me introduce KRAMPUS (no not the creepy goat Santa from Germanic folklore). Hailing from Italy, they describe their sound as Folk Metal, but I’m really not sure I agree, but I’ll get to that later. They’ve been going since 2009, “Counter//Current” is their second full-length release. I always admire when a band takes a while to release a full length album, it usually shows they have put a lot of time and effort into creating it, which I will say is true in the case of KRAMPUS’s release.
Straight away, I absolutely adore the album artwork. It’s sleek, thought-invoking and simple. It doesn’t look like a metal album cover. Featuring a boardwalk and calm water, it doesn’t really give us a feel for who or what we’re about to listen to, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The album begins with “Intro”, an eerie melodic piece. This is where I begin to get a bit confused, there is a lot going on here, even though it’s a simple instrumental intro you have a traditional folk tone to the piece with industrial synth undertones which can come across odd the first time around. Along with being incredibly confusing, it still doesn’t give us any expectations for the rest of the album.
Smoothly following on from “Intro” we have “The Trial” and this is where things pick up and where I will explain my earlier statement of not knowing what the fuck was going on. From this track on, everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in. We have Industrial, we have Metalcore, we have Folk Metal, we have Melodic Death Metal, we have Old School Emo and a hell of a lot more. Normally this would be the stage where I’d switch off and find something else to review, but something about this album is drawing me in; I’m curious and I’m addicted.
At this point I decided to check their Facebook. Reading their fans reaction to this release is incredibly mixed; some love it and some despise it. I decided to listen to their previous releases and I can see why, they’ve changed their sound almost completely. It’s a ballsy move.
As the album progresses, it’s evident exactly how talented these guys are. Each one of them know exactly how to work their instruments and they sound like they’ve been playing together for decades. The production is also top notch in this album, it sounds seamless and flawless. I’m in awe!
As the album draws to a close I still don’t know what the fuck is going on or what the fuck I’ve just listened to but I love it. KRAMPUS have created a whole new genre and set the bar incredibly high. I can see why some people are disappointed, but I can also see the allure of it; it’s the allure that has me in its icy grip. They blend all elements flawlessly and it makes for exciting listening. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a new band and they made me excited for each new track. It’s also worth noting that it’s an incredibly brave move for a band to change their sound as much as these guys did, personally I think it paid off and worked tremendously in their favour. I’m very happy with this release, I can’t wait for the next.
2. The Trial
4. Black Swan
6. Butterflies on Fire
8. Song for the Forgotten
9. The Breakout
Filliop Gianotti: Singer, main songwriter
Marika Geremia: Violin, Backvocals
Matteo Sisti: Flutes, Bagpipes, Irish Bouzouki
Marco Cardona: Guitar
Alessandro Galliera: Guitar, Backvocals
Davide Zamparo: Bass
Alfredo Macuz: Drums