Kshatriya – Il Viaggio dell’Eroe (2017)

Kshatriya comes to us from that odd category of bands whose material would be great if they would just stop screwing around with the presentation, which ends up creating padding that while not terrible, detracts from the listening experience as a whole. Anyone who has sat through the first Impaled Nazarene album knows the pain of too much gimmick.

On the first Impaled Nazarene, if you edit out all the sound collages and stunt tracks, you get a much shorter album that also hits much harder. Metal bands tend to write songs that stand on their own but gain stochastic resonance of a conceptual sort through being heard in the context of the album, which is why metal almost exclusively makes concept albums of unstated concept; the album is its own concept, based on its content, instead of the other way around with bands choosing a concept and making an album around as the 60s-70s progressive rockers did.

Il Viaggio dell’Eroe offers some fine songs if you treat it like an EP. These tend toward layering, or setting up an initial oppositional pair of riffs, then playing those off one another as a means of introducing a harmony reflecting the second riff into the first, then building it up with technique and rhythmic variations until it finally detonates into another riff, upon which layering is used to shape its atmosphere, at which point the song trails off…

Between songs, expect some folk guitar, guitar feedback compositions, world music use of sampled pan pipes and tribal drums, even unique use of vocals. These function as framing for the tracks to follow, but not specifically enough that they contribute much; if anything, they simply reiterate the bones of the note progressions used to shape riffs around in each song, and this contributes more to repetition than atmosphere.

At its best, we might view this as half of an EP. If metal wants to get symphonic, it will have to do it by expanding melody beyond three to five notes, and that will in turn require tackling more use of scale and key, where if you use three notes and chromatic fills you can hardcore punk style base your song around a progression and a rhythm. This falls short of that, and so its techniques do not achieve the amplification of theme through atmosphere that it desires.

Nonetheless, Il Viaggio dell’Eroe sends forth promising black metal that attempts to make melody once again into a voice that distinguishes songs, rather than a technique which hides the fact that they are variations on common tropes, much like the metalcore and tek-def genres attempted to do. Much of this album nods to the hardcore punk heritage of black metal, but also aspires to a Gorgoroth-style grandeur.

As to the whole, one ends up with the unsatisfying realization that much of this music surpasses the rest of the genre as commonly practiced, but that this album makes for poor listening and so it will stay on the shelf until one needs to rip a specific track for a compilation (the 2010s version of 1980s mix tapes) or to use as a ringtone. However, some great music hides within the chaotic presentation of this album.

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2 thoughts on “Kshatriya – Il Viaggio dell’Eroe (2017)”

  1. Flying Kites says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW6iJS_SnGI

    On the topic of ring tones, this song is my go-to. It gives off a Sieg Heil vibe, and perhaps that’s why they haven’t released the lyrics.

    Attempting to find the lyrics produces this result from all the sources I have seen.
    [Lyrics are shit – no printing!]

  2. Dicksucka says:

    Can someone please do a hate-review on Diabolical Masquerade : Nightwork? I hate how everyone views this boring/random piece of junk as a masterpiece. I think even cockpeth wrote better songs.

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