(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the North Carolina band Krosis, which was released last month by Unique Leader Records.)
These last three or four years we have witnessed a rather interesting demographic shift in US extreme metal that’s a bit unique to the current era. We’re seeing this in long form with bands such as Fit For An Autopsy, but in the case of bands like Krosis we’re hearing these guys in the middle of their musical journeys. To put it simply, a LOT of people who grew up with or got into heavy music via deathcore and djent primarily are now moving away from those sounds.
It’s only inevitable I think that these bands eventually realize how stifling those sub-genres are, and thus they turn to retaining the best parts about those sounds while embracing more front-and-center extreme metal along with modern progressive tendencies to create something that is wholly a post-2015 or ’16 phenomenon and that’s resulted in some of metal’s best modern music.
I was a big fan of Krosis’ debut Solem Vatem, which took more of a progressive space-themed route that kind of sounded like deathcore Fear Factory. It worked, and made for a fantastic listen, but Krosis probably knew they couldn’t keep going in that sort of direction.
A Memoir Of Free Will is an interesting album because it has so much going on, while it’s also a deliberate attempt to steer themselves mostly away from the deathcore and djent elements they’d started with on their debut. At this point, you’re kind of looking at a weird amalgamation of The Faceless, In-Quest, Obscura, Meshuggah, and even some Kartikeya in places, while they maintain some brutish elements from the space-deathcore movement like Aegaeon or Aristea.
The thing about A Memoir Of Free Will is that it’s a super-diverse record. I think they hit just about every type of approach to death metal riff-writing, with their use of eight-string guitar grooves and breakdowns being fitting complements as breaks from the madness. When the djent and deathcore elements do crop up, it doesn’t really feel like djent or deathcore. Where those genres use passive grooves as their primary method of carrying you musically, Krosis use it as an accent or for impact, and the resulting re-appropriation of those musical techniques keeps them feeling fresh, as opposed to stagnant background noise, a problem that’s been plaguing both those styles for years now.
There’s just some downright cool shit on here. “An Intramural Madness” is a straight-up legit “Destroy, Erase, Improve” tribute while opener “Gone, But Not Forgotten” is a grandiose symphonic progressive death metal powerhouse of a mood-setter. The Beyond Creation-esque “To Persist Or Adhere”, the frantic, desperate tech insanity of “Psychoticlysm”, and the Soreption-like machine precision of “Battles Are Won Within” demonstrate a band who definitely understand death metal, past, present, and future.
Easily one of the best albums of the year I’ve heard so far. Their debut was very slept-on; I’d like that not to be the case again.