(Continuing with today’s theme, i.e., surrendering NCS to guest contributors, the inimitable Trollfiend let me talk him into reviewing the new EP from an Italian folk-metal band called Krampus.)
Okay, when I was asked to do a review of the new Krampus EP Kronos’ Heritage, I was pretty damn excited, because a) Krampus is folk metal, and I make no secret of my love, b) the Krampus is one of the coolest folk legends pretty much ever, and c) I’d never heard of them before, so yay new shit!
But I approached this album with trepidation. What if they sucked? What if, despite their cool-ass name/logo/concept and the fact that they are folk metal, they compiled into an awesome black hole of suckitude from which not even Norwegians could escape? If you know anything about folk metal, you will know that this is not an unreasonable fear.
After some half-assed research (which is the only kind of research I know how to do here at the Trollcave), I discovered that Krampus is an 8-piece band from Italy that plays Celtic-inspired folk metal. Okay, so far so good (with a small serving of lolwut). Also, they fully embrace the legend of the Krampus as a theme, which gets them extra points from me. But the real test was coming… what does Krampus sound like? More to my concern, are their vocals some kind of clean, hippie-esque trololol that is going to set my teeth on edge and make me lump them into a big stinky pile with bands like Kamelot and Skyclad?
Well, I’m happy to say that Krampus doesn’t suck Satan’s balls through a garden hose. They’re actually pretty damn good. They do a mostly seamless job of marrying the folk and the metal, without the muddy confusion you sometimes get with bands that have more than four members (I’m looking at YOU, Folkearth). Let me clear one thing up: Krampus is not a folk band with a bit of distorted guitar, it’s a metal band with folk elements. They do it all, really, on this one little 3-track EP. There’s even some clean vocals on the first song (which I confess I wasn’t too fond of, but some people like that sort of thing, in the same way that some people like amputee porn). There’s some synth, for you fans of the melodic; there’s peppy wind instruments, for you Ren Faire folk; and best of all, the main vocalist’s voice sounds like he ate the Krampus backwards and is trying to dislodge the spiky bit (i.e., all of it) from his throat.
Oh, yeah, the Krampus. I can’t let this pass without getting on my academic hobby-horse…hide yo kids, hide yo wives, I’m a get all pedantic up in here so you can run tell dat.
The Krampus is a legend associated with certain parts of central Europe (Austria, Bavaria, and so forth). It’s a pretty basic concept: it’s the Anti-Claus. While Jolly Old St. Nick is coming to your house to bring presents to all the GOOD little girls and boys, the colon-clenchingly frightening Krampus is following along behind him with presents for the BAD little girls and boys. And by “presents”, I mean rocks, boiling kettles and whippings.
So be good, for fuck’s sake, or you’ll get your ass beat by something that looks like the bastard love child of a Satanic goat and a dead prostitute. Seriously, how metal is that? They have Krampus festivals in Europe, which (if the YouTube videos are anything to go by) mostly consist of drinking heavily in the street while your town is invaded by Krampii and laughing hysterically as they jump on your friends and eat them.
Kronos’ Heritage is a must-have for any fans of folk metal, and if you’re not one of the enlightened, you might want to give it a try anyway, because if you don’t, the Krampus will come to your house and flog you with a fistful of chains and razor wire. Unless you like that sort of thing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kronos’ Heritage and the band’s previous EP, Shadows Of Our Time, are available via Krampus’ online store. You can find our more about the band at their official web site or at Facebook. Here’s the EP’s title track:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/01-Kronos-Heritage.mp3|titles=Krampus – Kronos’ Heritage]