Michiel de Rooij : When I got this disc from "le chef de l'operations de lords du metal” during the annual Lords of Metal metal quiz in 013, a concurrent from another metal e-zine told me he also did a review for this split. He told me Kekal was really worth listening to, he described as a sort of mixture between Mercyful Fate/King Diamond and modern Black/Thrash metal.
Slechtvalk wasn't really a newbie for me. At the time the, not bad at all, record Falconry came out it had been in my CD-player for quite a while which is already a remarkable fact considering the huge amount of crap in my collection that I usually listen to.
Well... enough talking about the bands, about the record now! The first time I listened to it I was quite surprised when the first tunes of Kekal came out of my speakers. It indeed sounds like a combination between a old metal legend mixed with new elements.
It's just too bad that Kekal doesn't seem to stick with that sound. Immediately after the first track finished I heard nothing but uninspiring boring metal in the second song.
A Stranger So Close made me almost cry when hearing the first tones of the composition; it seemed Kekal was getting ready to make a disco song, a little later some guitars would try to save the song but it didn't seem like they would succeed. But finally after more than a minute of strange music the song was gaining metal substance. I forgot about anything happened in the previous song and the recent one's intro…. What a great song!
Kekal must be doing this on purpose! Make one great song and annihilate it with the next one, then make it up again with a great third and after that ruin it with a terrible fourth track. And how? With a godforsaken Trouble cover !!! I cannot appreciate Trouble in anyway! sorry, I tried but failed, but even covered by Kekal Trouble means trouble !
Enough Kekal, let's get on with Slechtvalk! The biography, learns us that Slechtvalk is a band worthy of listening if you're a Summoning-fan, well… I happen to be one so let's take a look at the new Slechtvalk stuff.
Right immediately, with the first track, Whispers in the Dark satisfies my ears and labels the music as "summoning-alike”. Note that this band does not copy the complete summoning sound and consider it to be theirs, it's in the same genre but Slechtvalk is not a summoning-rip off, they do hold their own sound.
Remarkable is the fact that this song is two years older than the other songs on the Slechtvalk part of the disc. The Dragon's Children will come out later this year on the new album The War That Plagues The Lands. The song is thrashier than the more melodic work from the previous album.
A song exclusively for this split recorded is Storms. It sounds like it's done in haste. Easy lyrics, not very original musical compositions... that is in no way a crime and certainly done often by lot's of bands, but what really annoys me is the second vocals in this song. I think the song would sound better without them.
The new songs are faster and it sounds not bad, but they do miss the magic which a song like Whispers in the Dark does have.
Well, I was already expecting the worst after Kekal's Trouble-cover, praying Slechtvalk wouldn't kill my ears forever by also doing a song by Trouble or Stryper or anything like that! Haha! Fortunately they did not! They chose the song Kongsblod by Antestor, a Norwegian Christian blackmetal band. I haven't heard a single Antestor song in my life before so I have no clue what the original sounds like, but I did notice that Antestor is considered to be with the top of the Christian metal. This song is one of the best songs on the complete split! I've just listened to it tree times to obtain a good impression…. and I think I'm going to listen to it once more.
This record is probably why the producers of CD-players provide us with the "program”-option. I'd say… just program the first, third, fifth and eighth track and forget the rest.
This split is a nice goodie for fans of the Christian metal genre, or if they're already into bands like Kekal and Slechtvalk they can lay their hands on some exclusive material from both bands. If you're none of the above stated, just let this record rest.