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Kairos - Queen Of The Hill Award winner

Queen Of The Hill
by Rachel Montgomery at 14 January 2020, 3:41 AM

KAIROS is a Heavy Metal act from Sweden, debuting their sophomore album "Queen Of The Hill" after touring with German band U.D.O. While it sticks to a new wave of traditional Heavy Metal sound, the thematic elements, heaviness, and ambient elements push the genre’s limits.

“Reckless Dedication” starts off with some thematically buzzing backdrop against squealing guitar riffs. The melody is thrashing with gravelly vocals that staccato and thrash along with the instrumentals. The guitar parts contain some incredible slides. The vocals also have impressive melodies for the speed they’re sung at, with note drops, slides, and rises which take a good command of the voice to do. At its start, the album promises to be a high-octane powerhouse with great musicianship and thematic elements.

The ambient beginnings are strong on this album and do a wonderful job at introducing the thematic elements. “Strike While The Iron Is Hot” begins with a hammer banging metal against an anvil, carrying the beat and tempo of the song. It also distinguishes itself from the last song by being slower and steadier and shows what the band can do with a mid-tempo song. The guitar work is intricate in parts and at others, creates a strong, pounding riff that fits with the theme. The guitar solo is where the work really shines, with sweeps and arpeggios to set it apart from the rest of the song. Another thematic approach can be found in “Japanese Steel”, where they begin the track with Japanese style music or ambiance. The singing style reminds me of J-Metal.

Mainly, they keep their theming with the confines of traditional metal, while pushing the boundaries of the genre. The closing song, “Enchanting Age” has some clever, high-pitched acoustic playing before the main riff takes over. The use of the vocalist’s upper register is also in line with the mesmerizing tone of the song, but without compromising the traditional Metal edge. When the song flies into a heavier riff, it takes on a distinct IRON MAIDEN vibe without trying to sound like Bruce Dickinson or 100% try to emulate that style. The voice-over in the instrumental break is haunting and reminds me of the fantasy films I enjoyed from the 1980s as a teenager. It’s a rich song that keeps itself in its vintage genre while pushing the limits to explore fantastic themes.

The bonus track, “Steel Armor”, takes a bit to let you know it’s there. But when it does, it features a traditional gunfire riff like the one in BLACK SABBATH’s “Paranoid” or in many of JUDAS PRIEST’s tracks, like “Electric Eye” or “Turbo Lover”. They do some good backup work in the second verse and everything from the instrumentals to the vocals is done in a 1980s style that’s a fan for fans of traditional metal. A nice touch is the way the vocals falsetto to match the first note of the guitar solo. The warlike ambiance at the end is a thematic touch to the rest of the album as well.

Overall, it’s a promising start to a fresh career. I look forward to seeing what these guys have in store for the future.

Songwriting: 10
Production: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Restless Dedication
2. Strike While The Iron Is Hot
3. Mr. Nocturne
4. Silver Heart
5. Japanese Steel
6. Merciless Domine
7. Enchanted Age
8. Queen Of The Hill
Tom Hamstrom – Vocals
Carl Rudhede – Guitars
Emil Beairo – Guitars
Viktor Hakan – Bass, Drums, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Stormspell Records


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Edited 30 May 2020

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