Koldborn – First Enslavement

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Reviewed: March 2003
Released: 2002, Diehard Records
Rating: 3.8/5
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos

Wow! Something must be rotten in the state of Denmark, because here are four Danes who are really pissed off, and they aren’t afraid to show it! From the opening seconds, Koldborn come on like a freight train out of control, assaulting with chunky, shredding guitars, shouted vocals, murderous drums, and aggression in spades. While there is nothing here tremendously noteworthy, FIRST ENSLAVEMENT is a solid, consistent album that leaves enough of a taste of blood in your mouth to want to listen to the album again in the future.

As I said, it’s fairly consistent, so there are not too many peaks or valleys. Occasionally Koldborn really crank it up, and some of the faster songs such as “Blessed by Beyond” and “All Bowing Heads Roll” generally hit harder and deliver more anger than some of the others. I can’t say the female spoken vox on “Sunbroken” do anything for this material, but I can overlook one clinker track when the rest of the album is so good. I really like what I call the “hidden melodies” of songs like “Vague Cries (Of Unborn Lives)” which remind me of the way my all-time favorite death metal band, Dismember, buries some surprisingly melodic stuff under layers of pounding guitars that your ear and brain must decipher like a complex code in order to perceive. When a death metal band begins to do this kind of thing it’s a certain sign of intelligence and craftiness at the songwriting level, which is an art all too rare in death metal. For that reason I think Koldborn have considerable potential.

All of the parts and instrumentation are excellent. I can’t say I can hear the bass player that well, but it could be that Kim’s parts are so well-blended with the rest of the music that your ear doesn’t perceive a difference. The vocals are also quite well done. This is not standard “Cookie Monster” fare, nor does it veer into AnselmoShout territory as do many death vocalists who don’t want to sound like death vocalists. The production on this album is top notch–very deep, crisp and up-front. A good deal of care went into the crafting of this disc.

FIRST ENSLAVEMENT is a hard-hitting album likely to appeal to most death metal fans and probably a lot of others for whom death metal is not a first love. This is a well-done album, pure and simple, and any serious metal fan is likely to recognize that even upon the initial listen.


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Track Listing:
1. Of Sins Sublime
2. Wicked Arise Divine
3. Blessed By Beyond
4. In Breathless Sighs
5. All Bowing Heads Roll
6. Vague Cries (Of Unborn Lives)
7. Demonride
8. Sunbroken
9. Altar Of Your Fate
10. The Embrace of Thanatos

Henrik — guitar
Rasmus — drums
Martin — vocals
Kim — bass