“It has taken some time, but Norwegian metal, and especially Keep of Kalessin, has gotten a very good reputation in the jazz scene in Norway,” Obsidian said.
Named after a dragon’s lair in Ursula K. Le Guin‘s “Earthsea” series, Keep of Kalessin has released just four albums in its career, due mostly to frequent band turnover and Obsidian’s five-year stint as touring guitarist with black-metal giants Satyricon. But Keep of Kalessin has managed to release two incredible records since 2006: The pulverizing “Armada” and its new, more diverse yet no less powerful sister CD, “Kolossus” (Nuclear Blast). (Together they make up a saga about wars against the gods.)
Compared to most extreme metal — where the “roll” part of rock ‘n’ roll is often ignored in favor of an almost suffocating precision (usually abetted by computer processing) — Keep of Kalessin downright swings, and its albums feature relatively little post-production editing.
“We have that rock ‘n’ roll approach to playing our metal side,” Obsidian said. “In our live shows, as well; we never have everything just perfect. We just play on atmosphere and on feeling.”
Actually, that almost sounds like jazz.
Photo courtesy Nuclear Blast