Kaeck – Stormkult (2015) – Another Perspective

Kaeck - Stormcult (2015); another variant of the cover art

Kaeck has received quite the buzz from other contributors to this site, which was actually how I discovered it. It turns out that this is one of the best black metal releases I’ve heard since Sorcier des Glaces’ The Puressence of Primitive Forests in 2011. It’s not the most accurate comparison since this is a significantly more violent and melodramatic album (Puressence, for all its strengths, is candy-coated), but I digress.

Stormkult belongs to an especially claustrophobic school of black metal, with its bassy production and keyboard soundscapes. Of all the instruments, though, the vocal section was the first to particularly draw my attention. They are all over the place, and the constant variation of vocal technique is effective in distinguishing sections of songs and their corresponding moods. For some, these may take some acclimation; there are some particularly anguished screams and shouts that only avoid coming off as goofy or otherwise inappropriate through their scarcity and correspondence to climaxes in the rest of the songwriting. Since I can’t understand the Dutch these vocalists apparently perform, I have to pay special attention to how they use their voices as instruments, but I am thusly rewarded with the strength of their performances even if I can see some not enjoying the style.

Other parts of the recording are more conventional, although the dense soundscapes and keyboards tend to put me in mind of Emperor’s debut (In The Nightside Eclipse). Despite not being as overtly symphonic, the content here has a similar pacing of riff delivery – slower chord progressions over fast, if relatively unvariegated drumming; percussion is admittedly not the major emphasis here, although the drums are mixed prominently enough for this reality to reach my attention. There’s definitely room for more variety in the drumming without overemphasizing it and thusly creating awkward stylistic conflicts. Some more tempo shifts might’ve been helpful, too, as the album does seem to lean towards a theatrical, narrative style in other parts of its instrumentation, and a few well placed breaks can be very powerful. A more shrewdly degraded production might also help – Stormkult sounds almost crystal clear in spite of its overtures towards low fidelity, which suggests the latter may have been created by something as artificial as slicing out all the sounds above a certain frequency.

The positives here outweigh the negatives by a great margin, though; Kaeck’s approach on this album is fundamentally sound, although there is definitely room for refinement and greater sophistication if they choose to go forwards with future recordings. Those could potentially stand with the god-tier recordings we’ve enshrined here, but that Kaeck comes close to them makes me confident that they could reach that level with practice and effort. I write this knowing I have yet to finish penetrating Stormkult‘s depths, but an album that doesn’t surrender its secrets immediately is better than the alternative.


Author’s note: DMU has had access to this album for some time, but in light of its official physical release, I feel writing about my own experience with it is appropriate. 

Tags: , , , ,

8 thoughts on “Kaeck – Stormkult (2015) – Another Perspective”

  1. SERIOUS QUESTIONER says:

    I´ve a question for anybody who is versed in speed metal or thrash metal as most people call it.

    1986, Onslaught – The Force, do you consider this music as plain speed metal or would you say it’s a hybrid with the nascent death metal of the day? To me it sounds closer to Exodus and Nuclear Assault than to Slayer.

    1. 1986, Onslaught – The Force, do you consider this music as plain speed metal or would you say it’s a hybrid with the nascent death metal of the day?

      Definite punk/metal hybrid, not choppy like speed metal but more tremolo-based like Slayer. Compare it to early Master which is its nearest relative.

    2. #blesst are the sick says:

      I would say this is like Metallica ‘Ride the Lightning’ — the actual song — with references to Discharge ‘Hear Nothing, etc.’

  2. Ultraboris says:

    This album is so underground that not even the Metal Archive guys knew about it until a week ago!
    All I can say is this album’s gotta lot of oommphh! You know? Commence headbanging madness till your fuckin head falls off, and bang, you´re now a headless zombie.

    1. mexican rape victim complex says:

      get your hands off that real metal before i cram my rosary up your ass like anal beads

  3. Ultraboris says:

    Awesome interview for Possessed’s Aniversary. Was Possessed the first death metal band?

    http://www.metalcrypt.com/pages/interviews.php?intid=455

    1. Daniel says:

      I’d say Morbid Angel.

  4. Belisario says:

    “Usage Note: Thusly was introduced in the 19th century as an alternative to thus in sentences such as Hold it thus or He put it thus. It appears to have first been used by humorists, who may have been echoing the speech of poorly educated people straining to sound stylish. The word has subsequently gained some currency in educated usage, but it is still often regarded as incorrect. A large majority of the Usage Panel found it unacceptable in an earlier survey. In formal writing thus can still be used as in the examples above; in other styles this way, like this, and other such expressions are more natural.” (Dictionary.com)

    You say “this is one of the best black metal releases I’ve heard since Sorcier des Glaces’ The Puressence of Primitive Forests in 2011”, but most of your comments are about how the actual album could be improved, not about why it is so good that “positives here outweigh the negatives by a great margin”, quite strange! Anyway, welcome!

Comments are closed.