Kalidia – The Frozen Throne – Album Review

42674993_2003599549697395_9223313148558180352_n

Artist: Kalidia

Album Title: The Frozen Throne

Label: Inner Wound Recordings

Date of Release: 23 November 2018

I am the Man of Much Metal and I pride myself on liking a wide range of the genres, sub-genres and sub-sub-genres of guitar-based music, from melodic rock and pastoral prog at one end, to black and death metal at the other. I even dabble into the spheres of grindcore on occasion and I have been known to like a fair bit of ambient and classical music along the way as well.

However, one of the sub-genres of music that I have, of late, fallen out of love with is the symphonic metal movement, principally (and I hate the term, but I use it for clarity here) female-fronted symphonic rock and metal. A decade ago, I’d lap up everything that Nightwish, Epica and Tristania might throw our way. But now, my feelings tend to be very different, bordering on apathy much of the time. And yet I continue to persevere in the hope that a band will come along and reignite my enthusiasm or, better, prove me totally wrong about the whole scene.

It was on this basis that I cottoned on to ‘The Frozen Throne’, the second full-length release from Kalidia which apparently arose from the ashes of a band called Neverwing. Hailing from Tuscany, Kalidia are a quartet comprised of vocalist Nicoletta Rosellini, guitarist Federico Paolini, bassist Roberto Donati and drummer Dario Gozzi, who joined the fold in 2016. The fact that the band are signed to the usually reliable Inner Wound Recordings helped to further sway me, as did the cool cover art that adorns this new record.

With hopes high, I delved in. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was short-lived and almost entirely expunged by Kalidia’s music. Allow me to explain a little further.

Kalidia play very professionally-executed Gothic-tinged melodic, symphonic heavy metal, with an occasional foot placed into the power metal camp. Each member of the band contributes to the cause very well, from the urgent riffing of Paolini to the rhythmic duo of Gozzi and Donati who lay down a strong backbone, moving from galloping tempos to slower, more deliberate beats. The stand-out performer has to be Rosellini though, thanks to her rich and smooth voice, which laces each track very nicely indeed. There is a liberal use of keys which alternate between providing an atmospheric backdrop and tinkling more in the foreground to add to the melodic sensibilities of the band.

42219606_1992646640792686_2016062510645379072_n

However, it is with a sense of genuine disappointment that I must report that there is little or nothing within the Kalidia armoury that sets them apart from the already saturated genre within which they sit. I have literally heard this all before. And, if you played any of the eleven tracks to me blind, I’d never in a million years guess who this was.

For the hardcore fans of this kind of music, I am probably being about as blasphemous as it is possible to be. The devoted will, no doubt absolutely adore the material on ‘The Frozen Throne’ because it does everything that it should do; it is certainly sufficiently grandiose and melodic, the neo-classical and Gothic elements are present and correct and much of the music is nicely upbeat and folk-tinged. Indeed, if I wanted something inoffensive and smooth to work to or have on in the background, there is nothing wrong with Kalidia whatsoever.

But crucially, I want more than just background music. The album benefits from a decent production, although I can’t help but think that it robs the guitar of some of its much-needed muscle. But the biggest issue I have, aside from the very derivative output, is the lack of killer hooks and chorus melodies that stop me in my tracks and demand an immediate repeated listen. There are literally none as far as I’m concerned. Now I fully admit that this is likely down to personal taste, but as each song goes by, I’m yearning for something more, something fully engaging and arresting. But nothing jumps out at me and this is the same after a number of spins, most of which have occurred out of a sense of duty to write a fair review rather than a sense of impending enjoyment.

Sadly therefore – because I hate writing reviews that are anything but positive – the conclusion must be that Kalidia are not the band to change my mind about symphonic metal; and so the search continues.

The Score of Much Metal: 6.5

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here:

2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

Rikard Sjoblom’s Gungfly – Friendship
Ashes of Ares – Well of Souls
Veonity – Legend of the Starborn
Bloodbath – The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn
Nochnoy Dozor – Nochnoy Dozor EP
Vola – Applause of a Distant Crowd
Lost In Thought – Renascence
Into Eternity – The Sirens
Fifth Angel – The Third Secret
Ashes of my Memory – Raptures /// Disillusions EP
Anathema – Internal Landscapes
Samskaras – Lithification
Seventh Dimension – The Corrupted Lullaby
Hate Eternal – Upon Desolate Sands
Witherfall – A Prelude To Sorrow
Northward – Northward
Seventh Wonder – Tiara
Warrel Dane – Shadow Work
Haken – Vector
Beyond Creation – Algorythm
Ultha – The Inextricable Wandering
Amaranthe – Helix
Ghost Ship Octavius – Delirium
Decembre Noir – Autumn Kings
The Odious Construct – Shrine of the Obscene
Fauna Timbre – Altering Echoes
The Moor – Jupiter’s Immigrants
Revocation – The Outer Ones
Riverside – Wasteland
Ethernity – The Human Race Extinction
Dynazty – Firesign
Deicide – Overtures of Blasphemy
Brainstorm – Midnight Ghost
Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned
Kingcrow – The Persistence
Cast The Stone – Empyrean Atrophy
Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold
Helion Prime – Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster
Madder Mortem – Marrow
A Dying Planet – Facing The Incurable
Árstíðir – Nivalis
Mob Rules – Beast Reborn
The Spirit – Sounds From The Vortex
Aethereus – Absentia
Unanimated – Annihilation
Manticora – To Kill To Live To Kill
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Halcyon Way – Bloody But Unbowed
Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 1
Redemption – Long Night’s Journey Into Day
Distorted Harmony – A Way Out
Tomorrow’s Eve – Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros
Atrocity – Okkult II
Lux Terminus – The Courage To Be
Kataklysm – Meditations
Marduk – Viktoria
Midas Fall – Evaporate
The Sea Within – The Sea Within
Haken – L-1VE
Follow The Cipher – Follow The Cipher
Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor
Ihsahn – Amr
The Fierce And The Dead – The Euphoric
Millennial Reign – The Great Divide
Subsignal – La Muerta
At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
Hekz – Invicta
Widow’s Peak – Graceless EP
Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik – Hugsjá
Frequency Drift – Letters to Maro
Æpoch – Awakening Inception
Crematory – Oblivion
Wallachia – Monumental Heresy
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
MØL – Jord
Aesthesys – Achromata
Kamelot – The Shadow Theory
Barren Earth – A Complex of Cages
Memoriam – The Silent Vigil
Kino – Radio Voltaire
Borealis – The Offering
W.E.T. – Earthrage
Auri – Auri
Purest of Pain – Solipsis
Susperia – The Lyricist
Structural Disorder – …And The Cage Crumbles In the Final Scene
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Divine Realm – Nordicity
Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart
Poem – Unique
Gleb Kolyadin – Gleb Kolyadin
Apathy Noir – Black Soil
Deathwhite – For A Black Tomorrow
Conjurer – Mire
Jukub Zytecki – Feather Bed/Ladder Head
Lione/Conti – Lione/Conti
Usurpress – Interregnum
Kælling – Lacuna
Vinide – Reveal
Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black
Long Distance Calling – Boundless
In Vain – Currents
Harakiri For The Sky – Arson
Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs
Tribulation – Down Below
Machine Head – Catharsis
Bjorn Riis – Coming Home EP
Twilight’s Embrace – Penance EP
Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation
Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau
Arch Echo – Arch Echo
Asenblut – Legenden
Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s