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Hand Of Kalliach – Shade Beyond

Hand Of Kalliach
Shade Beyond
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 12 April 2021, 9:52 AM

HAND OF KALLIACH is a Scottish Celtic/folk metal band that formed in 2020. "Shade Beyond" is their debut EP. I want to commend Sophie's bass. It isn't very often that the instrument stands out in folk metal. However, it is consistently well heard and played on "Shade Beyond" and gives a decent low end which I feel folk metal could use more. The opening track "Failte" begins with heavy picking and filtered whispered vocals. I think the band uses too many effects/filters on their vocals at times—it can be distracting.

With that being said, the song is solid and I appreciate how they seem to want to play metal as equally as they do Celtic folk elements…the balance between the two styles is rather well done.  The metal side is actually pretty heavy and the folk elements are catchy and memorable so this balance is a good thing as they play off each other within the songs. "Fathoms," begins with what I think are pipes. It lays an ancient and arcane backdrop down for the metal to play off. The vocals are a mix between rough cleans and screams. It's a good mix and adds to the song's dynamics.

"Overwhelm," is layered with a decent drum groove and plenty of double bass although I wish it was higher in the mix. This song focuses on vocals mostly with the music being somewhat more basic than the tracks before. But the atmosphere is great and the vocal patterns and interplay between them is catchy. "White Horizon" begins with clean keys and the wonderful vocals of Sophie's. John's vocals are natural without effects here and he sounds decent, a kind of throaty wail, which makes me wonder why these two don’t let their natural voices shine more on the songs.

The sudden twist about halfway thru when the song speeds up and introduces blackened elements is a nice twist. This is easily one of the best songs on the album. "In Tempest Wrought" is also impressive. The vocals are much more raw this time around and the simple but effective guitar goes along with it nicely. The last half of the song keeps the speed going but adds a bit of melancholy to the layers. It isn’t a perfect release but for a debut it is pretty strong.  It definitely makes me eager to see what they can do with a full length album.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Fàilte
2. Fathoms
3. Overwhelm
4. White Horizon
5. In Tempest Wrought
Sophie Fraser – Vocals, Bass
John Fraser – Vocals, Guitars, Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 28 May 2023

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