Altor: The King’s Blacksmith
26 April 2013
by Daniel Cairns
There was once a time in my life where I thought power metal was absolutely worthless as a genre. I attended Bloodstock Open Air 2009 which was pretty power metal heavy, and the only fond memory I have of it is hearing some guy on speed in a stall selling shutter shades playing Stagger Lee by Nick Cave. It was the musical highlight of a festival largely full of fucking guff like Blind Guardian and Battlelore. I had a falafel wrap too, that was pretty nice.
I was pretty serious about my music then, writing for a terrible black metal blog that will remain nameless, and was bang into Khanate and Cryptopsy and that, a joyless miserable shell of a human being. But then a firm friend showed me Kaledon. More specifically the video for ‘The New Kingdom’, and lo, my life was changed….
Watch the video for ‘The New Kingdom’ by Kaledon:
Everything about the video for ‘The New Kingdom’ makes me so deliriously happy. The fact it was shot on a camcorder from the 1980s, the endless posing, the singer wafting Christ-like through every room, pendulous balls bulging through his lovely white trousers.
Basically because of this video, Kaledon are my Elvis. They could write an album specifically aimed at me calling me a fucking prick and I would still adore them for making ‘The New Kingdom’. They make Rhapsody of Fire sound like Swans. They stopped me from being a terrible internet metal fan. They probably saved my life.
The new album is called Altor: the King’s Blacksmith, so once again, it’s a high concept piece about lots of men with beards kicking the piss out of each other with swords and magic, I guess. Who needs to pay attention to lyrics when you’ve got keytar solos coming at you from all angles? It sounds like every Kaledon album or song, so there’s been no musical growth here whatsoever, and that is absolutely positively fine with me, because the last thing I’d want is for Kaledon to start sounding like Meshuggah or Sunn 0))). I want Kaledon to sound like virginal cosplayers running around in forests levelling up forever and ever and ever.
Best songs? ‘My Personal Hero’ is one (because Kaledon are my personal heroes) due to the aforementioned rampant keytar soloing that would make the Animals as Leaders man shit. ‘Lilibeth’ is another highlight, a bombastic power ballad where the singer wails “EEEEEEEVIL TOOK YOU AWAAAAY FROM MEEEEEE. I ALLLLREAAAAADDDDY MISSS YOUUUUUUU!” It would probably be extremely heartfelt and emotional if you read the lyrics, but then you remember ‘The New Kingdom’ video where the singer dramatically gets up from the table, wild eyed, big-balled and defiant, and all tragedy is dispelled.
Is this album completely worthless in the grand scheme of things? Yes. Is it objectively a bit balls? Absolutely. Is it shameless fun for the 48 minutes it shrieks away? Unquestionably. Trends will come and go, but Kaledon will still be singing about warlocks and maidens in their own timeless bubble forever. I want to join them in that bubble.
Sounds Like: Battling the enemies of the King with bitching keytar solos
Standout Tracks: My Personal Hero, Lilibeth