The Finnish heavy industrial metal band Kaos Krew are back with their sixth album. According to the band themselves, “The album as such is not a concept album but consists of songs written during the period of possible energy crisis, therefor the title ‘Blackout’. It’s an interesting concept, and one I’m excited to check out!
After an slow organ build-up to open ‘At the Core’, we get into a fantastic guitar riff, stomping and heavy. I love the electronic stuff adding an element of melody and futuristic feel to it. The growled vocals fit perfectly over the top, keeping the feel brutal and heavy. The pace keeps pretty steady though the vocals do clean up a little for the choruses, making them a little catchier. The structure threw me off too, as we get the bridge before the second chorus. The drum work through it is incredible, a funky off-beat, and the guitars playing a solo melody is awesome. Then a final chorus-verse-chorus takes us home in style. This was a really interesting track. It’s a great way to open the album as it sets the scene perfectly for the band’s sound.
‘Retribution’ punches the listener straight in the face with a huge riff to start. We then get an awesome, epic riff that is mirrored by I think keys, but it almost sounds like a horn/string combo. It’s fucking awesome and real epic. The vocals are clean this time, giving the track more of a prog-metal feel. The chorus is even catchier than the previous one too. The track overall has a very European metal feel to it (of course); having elements of power metal and symphonic stuff alongside their unique sound. We get an awesome guitar solo to bridge the gap between the choruses, really giving chance for the lead player to shine. We also get a really epic extended bridge that I’m sure would go down a storm live. Especially with the strings coming back. This is an incredible song, and one that easily makes our playlist!
‘Know Thyself’ feels like the perfect amalgamation of the last two tracks. It has the stomping pace and industrial riff of the first, while having the awesome electronic melodies and epic feel of the previous track. Then, to my surprise, it drops down into a cleaner, slower bit, and we get some incredible female vocals. It’s a very interesting and welcome change of pace. It all builds perfectly into a MASSIVE, heavy, screamed chorus, and I can’t get enough of it. The riff sounds incredible behind it, making it all sound so huge. The screams almost have an air of Johannes Eckerström to them. In fact, the whole song sounds pretty Avatar, in the best way. We then get an awesome extended bridge to end. The guitars riff out while the synths do an awesome job making it all sound huge. Another easily playlisted track!
Tracks like ‘Wake up’, ‘Strangers Gate’ and ‘Flame on’ channel similar vibes to ‘Retribution’, that more epic, power metal end of their industrial sound. All three are fantastic tracks, the latter even having elements of 70s/80s pop in there too. It’s another highlight track and one to make our playlist! However, they all have a similar energy and feel to them, so it’s hard to talk about them all without repeating myself!
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting so many instrumental tracks. Three across the latter half of the album, ‘Raceway’, ‘Dark Circus’ and ‘Bounce’. The middle one is sludgy, Black Label Society-like track with plenty of pinch harmonics and some spoken word stuff. The latter is an equally stomping, bass-lead track that leans hard into the electronic stuff at times. The former, I do have slight issues with. While it’s a great, more hard-rock style track… is the riff not just ‘Slither’? Like I love the influence of a Slash-esque sleaze into the music, but c’mon, at least change it up a little guys! It’s a cool riff at least, and they really get their money’s worth out of it!
‘Electro Magnetic Machine’ is a really interesting track, it building up incredibly slowly across over a minute of epic electro stuff. It eventually explodes into a huge riff that you can’t help but bang your head to. Some more awesome growls come in over the top, making everything feel even heavier. The one and only chorus (I guess) stays heavy but almost channels a Muse-like energy. It’s a really interesting track and placed perfectly in the middle to break things up.
Album closer ‘Electric Masquerade’ is another interesting one. Opening on an Egyptian-like sound and riff, the heaviness soon comes in over the top. It’s almost another instrumental, aside for some spoken word stuff running through it. I kinda liked the almost robot-like voice announcing the track and continuing throughout. It reminds me of Machine Head’s ‘Imaginal Cells’, especially with the subject matter too. It feels like the culmination of the topic of the album, and honestly feels like a pretty fitting and epic conclusion musically, too. Any awesome way to close out the album!
Overall: This is an awesome album! Though, I have to admit, it does feel a tad front-loaded. Those first three or four tracks are so good, and I was ready to start handing out a 10. However, a large part of the latter half of the album is more instrumental based, bar a couple of songs. It’s not an issue, but I feel it could have maybe been arranged a little better to spread out the vocal-lead tracks a bit more. Still, as an album as a whole, it’s excellent, and so great to just sit down and listen through in one sitting. The band are amazing throughout, and I can’t give it any less than…
The Score: 9/10