Google translator identifies the word kaleikr as Icelandic for chalice. Kaleikr is a two piece band from Reykjavik, that suddenly spun off from the three piece band, Draugsol. So it looks like they formed this new band to give their previous vocalist the slip. The twenty fourteen release from Draugsol, entitled Volada Land
, rocked out diabolically heavy. Most of the textures resembled Temple Of Baal
and there were some that resembled early Taake
. Kaleiker’s debut, Heart of Lead
, was released through Debemur Morti productions. Which is a French label that specializes in various strains of black metal. It comes in a trifold digipac, with a plastic mount to protect the CD. The artwork is awesome with zigzag designs throughout all sides of the package. But there is no booklet and the few lines of credit are displayed behind the CD mount.
The album opens with Beheld at Sunrise
, which commences with tranquil keyboard music and gentle piano notes. The drums casually move forth with light beats and soon the guitar comes in with ambient strums, as the vocalist joins with his low pitched grim voice. Then the guitarist plays mysterious riffs with textures similar to Umbra Nihil
, as the drummer beats out some shuffling patterns. Maximillian Klimko performs the vocals for Kaleikr, which he didn’t do with his previous band, Draugsol. He provides a monstrous presence like a vicious beast, that commands our attention and growls deeply with a guttural grim voice. Sometimes he raises or lowers his tones for more emphasis on emotion. Occasionally there are backup vocals, sometimes they enhance the dark fury and at other times they sound weak with half hearted clear voices.
Maximillian has been active in the Icelandic underground black metal scene through the years, with several bands. He is the band member who can be identified by the short dark hair, as well as performing both guitar and bass for Kaleikr. On the guitar side he usually plays ornamental riffs with avant-garde textures. There are mysterious high note melodies and anthemic rhythms with an air of the macabre. The bass music is played in the shadows of the guitar with diabolic midrange notes. Sometimes there are deeper notes with time changes to give the compositions a warped effect. The fourth song, Internal Contradiction
, starts with a bizarre guitar ambience and is soon joined with emphatic bass chugging utilizing a texture that sounds similar to Opeth
. Then suddenly the guitar music drives forth at an accelerated pace, as the drummer pounds out some melodic patterns and Max defiantly growls with suspended hang time. About two minutes in, the guitarist plays uncanny high note picking with textures resembling Blut Aus Nord
Drummer Kjartan Hardarson is the recognizable band member, with his long blonde hair, devilish goatee and glasses. He has been active in Reykjavik’s underground death metal scene and has worked with Cult Of Lilith
. The drumming sounds as though it was recorded at a lower fidelity, as do the vocals. He is a very good drummer, with a lot of fast movement and drum rolls with mixed tones for extended periods of time. There are some fluttering shuffle patterns and sometimes slower hard hitting arrangements, depending on the flow of the stringed music. The final track, Eternal
Stalemate and a Never
Ending Sunset, begins with sharp guitar slashes and deep bass plucking. Then it slowly moves forward with an avant garde atmosphere of flashy guitar music and rolling bass lines, as the drummer shuffles along. Soon the bass chugs out some ominous rhythms, while the vocalist lethargically bellows his lines and the guitar is picked with strange time changes. These guitar textures parallel Blut Aus Nord
Although the song titles are in English, the vocalized content isn’t recognizable as English, so the lyrics are probably in Icelandic. The album title, Heart of Lead
, probably refers to a heavy heart, which is a sad or miserable state of mind. Only the first two tracks can be construed as sounding somewhat melancholic. They both exhibit influences from Umbra Nihil
and the second track borrows heavily from Srodek
. The remaining five songs continuously follow a formula of minutes of slowly played mysterious and eerie guitar arrangements, that build up some suspense. Then the compositions abruptly explode into a climax of fast and catchy bass rhythms, which works well with the diabolic grim vocals. There are a lot of influences from Blut Aus Nord
in the last five tracks. Altogether in a chalice, it’s an unusual blend of avant-garde black and progressive death metal. This is a pretty good debut, but the Draugsol album was a little bit better.