Krallice - Psychagogue
Self-released
Experimental Black Metal
4 songs (38:21)
Release year: 2022
Krallice
Reviewed by Goat

A surprise-release eleventh album from the hipster black metal icons! And although not quite as good as the previous Crystalline Exhaustion, Psychagogue provides more of the band's signature take on black metal. It's shorter and more bluntly technical than the previous album, far less drenched in synths yet as the opening title track shows, more complex and layered. The synths are still there, Marston's instrument providing a welcome fresh aspect to the Krallice sound, and this time the focus seems to be equally on Weinstein's drumming, up close in your face and with enough variation to be worthy of it as part of a prog metal construction. Conversely, Deliberate Fog brings the synths back up and they dominate alongside the drums, yet at over nine minutes in length the track feels repetitive and more like something from the band's very early days, even with the keyboards.

Perhaps that was intentional; the artwork here does seem to be a different take on that organic complexity, roots or branches stretching out in a strange way. Yet the longest - and best - piece present, the thirteen minute Arrokoth Trireme, lunges to the leftfield, heralding a grandiose take on the previous album's style with opening keyboards and battle drums more reminiscent of classic Abigor than the Krallice shown off elsewhere here. It develops in a classic blackened style, fast blasting and high-pitched screams atop layers of icy keyboards while the guitars and bass scramble in the murk beneath, audible thanks to the production but still far from the focus (again Barr and McMaster have swapped their instruments, with less interesting results). And it grasps you firmly, the varying keyboards shimmering almost psychedelically with their melodies, finishing with something between dark ambient and more 80s movie soundscapes. If this came out in 1995, it would be regarded as a stone-cold classic, and still feels exciting nearly 30 years later.

After that, the closing Reprisals of Destiny clatters along with more aggressive synth-backed blackened technicality, easing into a sinister rumble that builds tension towards its end before wrongfooting you, cutting to silence. An oddly disappointing end to this odd little album; far less cohesive than Crystalline Exhaustion, with each track feeling separate from the other rather than part of a greater whole. Yet still fascinating to the more chin-stroking of the black metal faithful and considering how much Covid affected the creation of music it's good to see Krallice producing not just one, but two very good albums in a single year. And since we are but in June, with possibly more to come!

Killing Songs :
Psychagogue, Arrokoth Trireme
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Krallice that we have reviewed:
Krallice - Crystalline Exhaustion reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Krallice - Demonic Wealth reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Krallice - Prelapsarian reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Krallice - Hyperion (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Krallice - Ygg Huur reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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