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Review: Keitzer – Where The Light Ends

by Miloš Šebalj
Keitzer cover
Keitzer cover

Keitzer – Where The Light Ends

1.  Where The Light Ends
2. Under The Surface
3. Tyrants
4. Invictus
5. Slay’em All
6. Hellion

Label:  FDA Records
Date: July 19, 2019

Celebrating the 20th anniversary with a new full length? Well, I guess it beats releasing some sort of a “best of” compilation. And that is exactly what these Germans did. Their seventh album came out in mid-summer, just in time for some festival appearances and I can only hope they made it to at least a couple of them.

Somehow, from the very start, this album sounded very Austrian to me. I have immediately thought of Belphegor. Mostly because of the very rich and full sounding of the record. Though the music isn’t that far from what the Austrians are pulling off these days. While Helmuth and his crew are combining Black Metal with their brutal Death, the German quintet is much more rooted in Death Metal canons. Keitzer intakes some Grinding ferocity mostly, as well as some slight Black Metal touches when necessary. FDA Records places Marduk on the list of influences and I will not deny it. The Swedes’ mad riffing appears here and there, but that is pretty much where Black Metal input ends. At times Keitzer gets to those high-speed Grind rhythms, where you can easily spot some (again) Swedish tones, somewhat Repulsion-like. Still, their base is at Death Metal camp, mostly of European provenance, though some early Morbid Angel approach to guitars is noticeable. Speaking of Germany, Keitzer reminded me of Immortal Rites, even if Keitzer sounds a bit more melodic.

As for those melodies, they do not soften the music of these Germans. They are fit for creating an engulfing atmosphere around the sheer aggressiveness of the sound. It is mostly felt in the slower parts. Keitzer mostly exploits their guitars as “leaders” in their compositions, closely followed by the variety of drum patterns. I would like some more bass input, as it seems like it is there mostly as a back-up. “Raspy” growls serve their purpose decently. They are not put to the forefront, but used as another equally important instrument in forming a brutal machinery Keitzer certainly is. I have already mentioned the Belphegor-alike production work which makes “Where The Light Ends” sound like a ‘ten ton hammer’. What I would like to note is the cover artwork. Though the image of a medieval knight decapitating Medusa is not quite what history taught me, I must say this is one of the better executed front covers I have seen in a long while. I’m not sure but it might just be hand painted. Beautiful!

It might be exaggerated to say Keitzer’s new record is a must-have. Still, it is far from the ‘just another one of those albums’ pile. Well above your average Death Metal recording, “Where The Light Ends” might serve as a manual on how to make something cool out of the existing patterns. In other words, the Germans did not invent the hot water, but they did one hell of a job boiling it!

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