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Krotalus - "Blood Offerings" (CD)

Krotalus - "Blood Offerings" CD cover image

"Blood Offerings" track listing:

1. Conquered Kingdom
2. Forest of the Impaled
3. Stripped of Innocence
4. Evil Incarnate
5. Blood Offerings
6. The Dark Prophecy (Sea of Vengeance I)
7. Cloak of Darkness (Sea of Vengeance II)
8. Brink of Destruction (Sea of Vengeance III)

Reviewed by on June 2, 2008

"As the album wears on, one learns that a love for Dissection can save some of these tracks, with the ability to get into the slower-paced 'Somberlain' sound, evil and black, with intense drumming."

Unfortunately, Krotalus kicks off their first release, “Blood Offerings,” with “Conquered Kingdom,” a track can best be described as irredeemably bad thanks to rather squeaky black metal vocals bordering on irritating, and music that seems like a computer program of black metal, with an Old Man’s Child riffing stealing in unexpectedly around halfway through the track.

“Forest Of The Impaled” finds the band sounding a great deal more coherent, with an injection of speed that creates rawer vocals, and heavier sound. It does drag on a bit, though. “Stripped Of Innocence” does its part to throw in a groove / thrash sound, and Chad Bradley’s voice suddenly sounds a great deal like Mille Petrozza’s, yet in conjunction with brooding guitar work well-punctuated by the bass, shows Krotalus at their finest thus far.

“Evil Incarnate” proffers a great but familiar melodic framework, and by this point in the album, one can choose to either get into Bradley’s vocals…or not. Their high-pitched, black metal nature is still a bit strange with the death metal going on in the background, although the angry, driven Destruction style of playing is quite intriguing, to the musicians’ credit.

“Blood Offerings” showcases blackened thrash in the sense of sentiments such as “breaking down the walls of religion,” and “we spit in the face of your worthless god,” but there’s nothing too vigorous here apart from Clay Lytle’s drum rolls and other percussion flip-outs.

As the album wears on, one learns that a love for Dissection can save some of these tracks, with the ability to get into the slower-paced “Somberlain” sound, evil and black, with intense drumming. Then again, this is not the most successful approach that Krotalus employs; “Cloak Of Darkness” in particular evinces the technique used earlier in which rapidity improves the whole sound quality, guitars growling away behind Bradley’s shrieks, causing each member to sound really strong.

“Brink Of Destruction” rounds things off with angry black-punk, Impaled Nazarene sort of attempt at a war anthem, essentially just allowing bassist Mitch Browder’s to shine.

The production and sound is nothing short of excellent considering that Krotalus remains unsigned. Yet this particular hybrid metal is fast becoming a pet peeve of mine -- you can’t slap black metal vocals on German thrash and call yourself an innovator.

The lack of consistency can be a bit troubling, as blackened thrash gives way to Teutonic thrash in a weird cycle, but then, versatility may prove to elevate them past a tired and well-explored approach to their music. Unless you’re really into this styling of metal, it can easily become boring with a lot of borrowing and blending of various metal subgenres, in a seeming struggle for originality.

These new players of old-school have a bit of maturing to do, and Teutonic fans would be well-advised to stick with the tried-and-true, for now, apart from the notable tracks, earlier mentioned.

Highs: A well-produced, self-financed first effort from this band displays some solid musicianship and an exploration across thrash and black metal.

Lows: Nothing terribly new is brought forth here, and in the borrowing of several styles, the sound can drag on and is never consistent. Chad Bradley's vocals can be quite abrasive and out of sync with the rest of the group.

Bottom line: "Blood Offerings" will really only hold great appeal for those deeply interested in old-school thrash, as this album, while experimental, brings nothing new to light and offers little apart from talented playing.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)