Old school melodic metallers Klehma last year released their self-titled debut EP, and whilst you might be forgiven for presuming that a band who cite such an eclectic spectrum of influences might just end up sounding like an directionless non-entity, I’m glad to report that this is certainly not the case with the US’ Klehma.
Instrumental opener Dead Hand sets the mood pretty comprehensively with riffs peppered with old-school, Maiden-esque harmonies and melodic lines, perfectly complemented with occasional doses of vertebrae-obliterating crunch. Vocals are introduced with Into The Abyss, and could be fairly accurately described as the three-way sonic lovechild of Mikael Akerfeldt, Johann Hegg and Lars Petrov, and they sit beautifully over the slightly more ‘classic’ metal-flavoured guitar work – indeed, the riff leading into the last third of the songs can only be described as immense.
A short instrumental passage in the form of Centre of Fire precedes Master Marauder, whose verse contains an absolute piledriver of a riff (and vocals which will have you raising the Claw and gurning like your life depends on it!), whilst the release closes with a 1-2 knockout from Ember Breeze and Reclamation.
Whilst it’s easy to hear the obvious metal influences shining through, Klehma also unashamedly boast their progressive sides with mellow and atmospheric bridge passages, with clean vocals and an almost Pink Floyd style ambience. The result is that once all of these elements have been thrown into the melting pot, given a stir from the guys in the band and been treated with a raw production job (which sounds strangely refreshing in light of the wave of super produced, Sneap-like records which are so common today) , you have a very special infusion which is just the kind of thing that you can imagine being blasted out from the centre of a European metalfest campsite at unholy hours, whilst making all of those within earshot wish they had enough arms to simultaneously battle-axe AND play air guitar – just as well that festival season is right around the corner, then!
This is a solid debut release from a band who’ve managed to avoid the pitfalls of trying to mix so many things together, and one listen tells the story of a group that have carefully crafted their own identity. Now that the Klehma sound has been established, I look forward to hearing their full album (which is currently in the works) to see how they can develop it further – you should too.