Released: 2017, Sleaszy Rider
Kaledon is one of those bands that the studious power metal fan can mention in a conversation about the subgenre that most other casual fans will absorb with blank, unknowing stares. Truth is, this Rome, Italy band has been plying their trade since 1998 and CARNAGUS: EMPEROR OF THE DARKNESS is the band’s 9th full-length album. Once again, the lineup has changed, but for the better with Overtures singer Michele Guaitoli joining the band in 2015. The drummer and guitarist have also changed, though most fans will likely not be able to tell.
Kaledon is nothing if not ambitious, the band having already completed a concept story that took six albums to complete. CARNAGUS is the second in a new concept project from the band. Things open with the expected cinematic intro but come follower “The Beginning Of The Night”, Kaledon signals this will be an album with considerable aggression. Drums are bruising and the down tuned riffs sound more like Mystic Prophecy than Secret Sphere. Basically, that is how all ten songs are carried, no ballads, just fast and heavy guitar given the power metal vocal treatment by Guaitoli. Everything sounds loud, there are lots of twisty, winding riffs and drums that are patently relentless and overly busy.
Unfortunately, there are no distinguishing songs that burrow their way into the brain, which goes a long way to explaining why this band cannot seem to break beyond fringe status: a decided lack of good songs. Mind you, nothing is awful and the album sounds great in the background. Close inspection however reveals most songs resting on a rather flimsy foundation, sour melodies and dull riffs written more to display technical acumen than to actually, you know, sound good.
Credit the band though for limiting the song lengths, with all but one track being under six minutes. Guaitioli also offers a few admirable choruses but it is not enough to push this beyond average, generic status. Lots of folks are raving about this album, but do not be fooled into thinking that upping the heaviness quotient to thrash status like on “Telepathic Messages” automatically equates to a good song, even in the wrong hands. It doesn’t.