After including a promise of a new album with a March 2020 single release, the indomitable New York City-area progressive black metal band Krallice have dropped Mass Cathexis, and it’s a stunner. The record blends a progressive metal sense of intricately driving, technical precision with heavy metal riffing and the sky-scraping tendencies of more “traditional” black metal, and the whole piece feels cohesively powerful, with both an inviting familiarity and the sense that there’s little, if anything, that’s quite like what the band have crafted.
Most of the album definitely feels rather technicality-driven, but the band never feel bogged down or like they’re simply going in circles. Track two, called “Set,” utilizes the technicality in a particularly prominent position to enact a sense of a kind of disjointed lunging towards some kind of distant light, and this sense reappears in various incarnations throughout the record, as if listening through the album follows the path of an otherworldly being getting reincarnated over and over again — or something of the sort. There’s a reference to the traditional Norse god Loki in the lyrics to track seven, called “The Form,” which helps brazenly confirm the universe/ “great beyond”-oriented vibe of the record — although the powerful bursts of riffing could do that on their own.
Krallice rush through a lot of dynamics on Mass Cathexis, but there’s always a guiding sense of energy, which solidifies a feeling of true purpose behind every erratic (and often heavy) note. Track three, called “The Wheel” (which was the early 2020 single) feels super heavy, and the technical precision that’s interwoven into the music makes the song feel like the jagged lurches of an otherworldly beast. On track four, called “Aspherance,” the music sounds especially unstable, and there’s a truly haunting vibe in the performance — and here, the album’s other prominent side emerges, as the forceful energy holds together these leaps through musical netherworlds.
Tracks five and seven lean towards restraint, with an especially poignant amount of breathing room on the latter. Track eight, meanwhile — called “The Formed” — leads into the atmosphere-oriented closing track with powerfully energetic metallic blasts. Mass Cathexis feels like an adrenaline-soaked ride into a cloud-covered netherworld, in which possibility — and danger — hang over every step. It’s grounding, exhilarating, and a great time to listen to.
Check out Mass Cathexis below! Vinyl copies of the record are forthcoming via Gilead Media