If you read Krampus’ bio, you’ll learn two important lessons, the first being that they’re from Italy and the second is that they’re the best thing ever. Obviously it’s the job of their publicity team to talk them up as much as possible but you can’t help but feel that they’re over egging the pudding a bit. As it happens, in this instance I’ll let them off. It’s hard to describe Krampus’ sound. It’s folk metal (but not as we know it), it’s hardcore and there are some bits that are borderline punk. Oh, and there’s some electro thrown in every now and again in case you get bored with all that. If that doesn’t make you at least curious then I don’t know what will.
The entire album is amazingly bizarre and quirky but managing to not stray too far towards being overly cheesy (well, compared to some other folk metal bands). It’s an onslaught where, if you thought there wasn’t enough going on in the first full track, they seem to bring in a new element or dimension to their sound with every subsequent track. They manage to combine guttural screams with almost too clean vocals in a way that isn’t often heard in the genre. I’d say that the songs that are almost exclusively clean vocals are possibly weaker than the songs where they combine the two styles but that’s wholly a matter of preference as the “clean” songs are still very good in their own right.
In terms of actual music, the folk elements are more subtle than you might expect from a “folk metal” band where ordinarily the “folk” is the star of the show. For the most part, the use of these elements seems to be more used to accent metal music rather than essentially being a folk album that’s been metalled up. ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is a gloriously eclectic album that ticks all the boxes and will deliver something new to even the most hardened folk metal fan. Seems like the Italians are giving their Northern European counterparts a good run for their money in the folk metal stakes of late, might be worth noting at least.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
Review by Siân Williams
27th August 2012
1) Arise (The Day of Reckoning)
2) Beast Within
6) The Bride
8) The Dance of Lies
9) Kronos' Heritage
10) Shadows of Our Time
11) Tears of Stone
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a gloriously eclectic album that ticks all the boxes and will deliver something new to even the most hardened folk metal fan."