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Kilt. - "Everything/Nothing" (CD)

Kilt. - "Everything/Nothing" CD cover image

"Everything/Nothing" track listing:

1. Are We Going Out Tonight, Honey? (2:36)
2. UNDO (4:57)
3. Then We Die (4:11)
4. Oh What A Sight (2:54)
5. Dear Truth (5:02)
6. Human Failure (4:21)
7. Keptet (5:10)
8. Manoeuvre (1:11)
9. On A Stolen Land (5:09)
10. Statistics (2:02)
11. The Verdict (3:37)
12. Sigma Fay (5:21)

Reviewed by on August 30, 2009

"“Everything/Nothing” is a solid debut album that has enough innovation to not immediately get lost in the shuffle."

The name Kilt. may be unfamiliar to those readers who reside in the United States (aka the majority reading this right now). In their homeland of Finland, however, Kilt. is slowly becoming an underground hit. At the 2009 Finnish Metal Awards, the public voted the band as the fourth best “Demo Band” in the entire country, and the buzz for their debut album “Everything/Nothing” is strong. Kilt. is a strange enigma; an industrial metal act that doesn’t cater to the mass population. Those looking for a quick fix of adrenaline-soaked mayhem will shrug their shoulders in confusion at the quintet’s fascinating, if flawed, attempt at breaking standard principals and putting the emphasis on forming an icy, dark atmosphere over everything else, vocals included.

Kilt. is unique in that it has no full-time vocalist in its ranks. “Everything/Nothing” uses five different vocalists that act more as background noise than important cogs in the band’s wheel. Tender female singing clash with male screams of agony on “Human Failure,” the only track where the spotlight is shone on the vocals. None of the vocalists are terrible, but they pale in comparison to the instrumental work on display.

“Everything/Nothing” isn’t a technical display of brilliant musicianship, but it doesn’t need to be. The riffs are simple, the rhythm work is repetitive, and there are no leads or solos to be found, but the album is able to maintain a bleak aura that hangs around like a storm cloud throughout the entire running length. The 12 tracks are all separate entities, yet seem loosely connected lyrically to piece together a tale of contempt and disdain of humanity and people in power.

The album is balanced between slabs of aggression and stark tranquility. A slow brooding epic like “Dear Truth” is matched up with an upbeat, punchier number like “Oh, What A Sight.” The band leans towards a driving sound on the majority of “Everything/Nothing,” with the highlight being the two-minute punk basher “Statistics,” but the softer moments are where Kilt. shines the brightest. Spoken word passages add a desolate mood that is aided by the fuzzy guitars and distorted drumming, most evident on “On A Stolen Land.”

The heavier vibes spread throughout “Everything/Nothing” tend to suffer from a lack of any compelling traits. Kilt. throws some variety into the mix with a horns and strings section used periodically, but that doesn’t help much in the long run. The intensity is high, but a few of the tracks meander on with little purpose, especially opening instrumental “Are We Going Out Tonight, Honey?” and brief interlude “Manoeuvre.”

Recorded in various locations over a two-year period, “Everything/Nothing” seems at times like a series of ideas pieced together, lacking any cohesion or flow. Even with this spottiness, Kilt. has a purpose and direction; a pervasively dark atmosphere that suffocates the listener second by second, a feat made more on the musical front than the lyrical content. The vocals take a backseat, nothing more than an afterthought in the grand scheme of things, which may irk some who are looking for the message spoon-fed to them in easy-to-digest portions.

“Everything/Nothing” is an average debut album that has enough innovation to not immediately get lost in the shuffle. The band hasn’t made much of an impact in the US, but that could change if their sound catches on past their home country of Finland. Those with an open mind for underground industrial metal and desire for something a little bit different will warm up to “Everything/Nothing” better than the average metal fan.

Highs: Cold atmosphere, strong tranquil passages, doesn't stick to any conventions or pre-determined design

Lows: Vocals seem like an afterthought, heavier moments tend to get dull, lacks cohesion at times

Bottom line: Industrial metal that is effective in creating a stark mood, but stumbles on more than one occasion.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)