After the demise of Sagorah, Ki Project formed and I couldn’t be happier. Though largely overlooked, this Italian combination of old school and modern death metal with slight experimental effects was certainly not what I expected and comes off frighteningly vicious with hard-hitting grooves and absolutely fiendish vocals from Iwan Holzer. It sounds like they handed the microphone to one of those black ooze monsters that I was battling in Persona 5 last night (yes, I’m still handling an enormous gaming backlog). This inhuman approach feels right at home in the almost Pantera inspired southern death grooves of “Enforced Conformity” which I have a feeling would really jam on the stage. There’s no doubt that this is definitely a type of groove/death and that’s not everyone’s thing, but it certainly sounds a hell of a lot better than the latest Kataklysm abortion, which tried the same thing this year’s Meditation, but it would seem to me that the meditation didn’t work. But that’s a tale for another time.
Even simple cuts like “Shout” work on the level that classic metal did, as the one word chorus hits hard and fast in much the way that I feel Ghost failed with “Rats.” Yet when I hear Holzer belt out “Shout!” I automatically get an urge to pound my fist into the air, and that’s a good thing. With “Rats” I felt like, “Ah, rats. That could have been so much better!” Whereas here, I’m reminded that “keep it simple, stupid” makes for a much stronger point. I’m almost reminded of Fear Factory‘s “Edgecrusher” in its pounding simplicity. “Rise” comes off more like traditional death metal, almost sounding like it had just crawled out of a Swedish graveyard before taking a slightly unexpected turn into hardcore territory. Again, it’s still much better than what Kataklysm tried to do, even if it is lacking a bit in the melody department and missing a few solos – but that isn’t what I feel the goal of Robocalypse is.
Ki Project hope to come off pummeling with this one, and they do. It pummels from beginning to end, even though it contains a peculiar little chiptune called “Digital Conversion” as a closing note. This does seem a bit out-of-place, but listeners who do not have an appreciation for the awesomeness of classic chiptune can always skip it.
While I’m writing this, I have to mention that “Revolt” is literally thumping the living hell out of my speakers right now, definitely giving anything Slipknot did at their heaviest a run for their money. Robocalypse is the kind of album that I would have handed to the kid back in the early two-thousands who thought that Iowa was one of the heaviest albums they’d ever heard. Don’t get me wrong though, because Iowa was a great Nu-Metal excursion, but it doesn’t have the punch that this one does.
While I’m at it, I also need to mention the extremely interesting nature of “Reborn” where vocals make up an atmosphere that throws the track in a league of its own. Though Andreas Niederkofler’s guitar nodes seem to get buried in Michael Seeber’s amazingly crushing low-end bass riffs, there at least is attempted some nodes of melody on “Evolution” which shows me that the album only gets better as it goes on, which is much different from the norm. “Burning Fate” closes the album on that note as well, giving drummer Claudio Testini room to blast his kit more than a few times, while in the same sense giving Niederkofler’s guitar leads a couple more chances to be heard and felt.
I wasn’t exactly crazy about Sagorah, but Ki Project is definitely not an act to ignore by any means, especially if you like groovy death metal as much as I do. While certainly modernized, there’s enough of the old clout here to make for a memorable experience and Holzer’s vocals are just icing on the cake for me. Check it out at the link below.
(12 Tracks, 43:00)
Purchase HERE (Amazon)