Metal Review – The Kraken: …Rises

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Metal Review – The Kraken: …Rises
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The Kraken: ...Rises
Sludge Metal, Stoner Metal
Self-release
2014
Release length: 24:46
Big Cartel

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Formed with the former members of Alkira, Beyond the Oblivion, Voros, and AMODERNDEATH arises The Kraken, a four-piece group from Adelaide, South Australia. The nautical themed Sludge and Stoner Metal group came together in late 2013, and since then has entered the studio to record their debut EP aptly titled …Rises. But does this new entity reach the monolithic proportions of the sea dwelling beast their name is derived from, or do they find themselves beached on their very first outing?

For the most part, …Arise is an enjoyable EP that prides itself on attempting to mix together a few different styles that either works out or doesn’t. “Rises” has a bit of a Thrash Metal touch to the chugging riffs that can offer up some complexity at times, even when the timing slows by the half way point, incorporating a sensation of being deep in the abyssal trenches. The harmonized rougher vocals suit the music well enough, but oddly make the effort sound like Metallica performing Stoner Metal, or in some cases Doom Metal pending the speed. “Let Go” has its moments of melody, but overall is a much more rigid Thrash Metal performance that really could use a little more range in the vocals than what is on display. Then there’s “Purps,” which just works out a lot better by crossing an eighties Hard Rock and Heavy Metal sound that includes a little extra range and complexity all around, shifting to move of a sixties or seventies mixture of Southern Rock and Stoner Rock by the half way point that eventually creeps across the finish line.

The buzzing distortion used on the guitars sounds a bit thin overall, making you want a little more to further capture the aquatic concepts that struggle to make themselves known. “Slow Decay” is evidence of this thanks to the deeper notes chords and even vocal presence in the main verses, giving it more of that necessary bite to keep the listener engaged. The enthusiastic gang chants in this extensive cut, however, end up clashing with the sombre music and rougher depressing singing that makes you feel like you should raise your beer mugs high and join in with the woeful misery that is nicely highlighted by the similarly emotional guitar solo. “Holes” isn’t quite as personal, instead putting the focus more on music than the lyrics. It’s more of a blunt performance all around thanks to the fair trace of Black Sabbath heaviness and far richer, deeper tuned conclusion with a stronger drum presence to fill things up a little more.

…Arise is a noble attempt for a debut release, but it ends up more a jumbled mess of good ideas that often don’t sync up well with one another. This is partly due to how thin the recording ends up being. Had the music been a little richer, or at the very least deeper like on “Holes,” then this would be a largely different story. There’s also small gripes like the gang chants in “Slow Decay” that conflict with the misery, as well as the craving for a little more range in the regular vocals that better suits the music being played instead of being largely dominated by the same mid-range enthusiastic roughness. What it all basically boils down to is that …Arise is a self-financed EP that is meant to be taken more as the first baby steps of a band that still needs time to mature their sound, as right now it’s clear this is a group that still needs room to grow. But, in time, The Kraken will surely have no problem combining all these elements into one tantalizing sound that will intrigue the masses.

01. Rises – 4:17
02. Slow Decay – 6:34
03. Purps – 3:19
04. Hole – 5:00
05. Let Go – 5:37
Initial Pressing Score: 6/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by The Kraken.