WHO: A shining example of the astounding creativity omnipresent in French Death Metal, Kronos formed in 1994 as a Slayer influenced Thrash outfit. After a change in line up, they began to play the crushing technical/brutal Death Metal their fans know and love. 2001 saw the release of their debut LP ‘Titan’s Awakening’ from the now defunct record label ‘Warpath Records’. ‘Titan’s Awakening’ is to this day a fantastic release, but it wasn’t until 2003 that Kronos released ‘Colossal Titan Strife’, which many fans (including myself) regard as their masterpiece. Uncompromisingly brutal, technical without showboating and with a key understanding of musical progression to boot, ‘Colossal Titan Strife’ is responsible for turning more metalheads away from the mythological stylings of Nile than any other band I can think of.
WHEN: Released on Christmas 2003 from Xtreem Music, Kronos destroyed any importance the day may have had with tales of Tartarus, Olympus and the struggle for the universe. Monotheism be damned to the bowels of Hades!
WHERE: The album was recorded in Belgium at CCR Studios, presumably with the assistance of both the Titans and Olympians.
WHY IT’S A CLASSIC: Kronos is a rare breed of modern Death Metal band; technical without nearly breaking the fabric of reality (ala Brain Drill) and brutal without sacrificing intelligence and subtlety. (ala the majority of Slam) Kronos’ success is inherently tied to their mastery of cohesion, songwriting and atmosphere. There’s no showing off or overcompensation here, only dedicated musicians committed to make every riff, blast beast and death growl transport the listener right into the midst of clashes between ancient and eternal forces of light and darkness as understood by the Ancient Greeks. Right from the get go, this is an album that will grab you and never let go, even long after its 42 minute running time. Without even listening to the album, I can distinctly remember every key moment on the album. How many LP’s can you boast as being able to do that with?
On top of everything else, nothing drags on ‘Colossal Titan Strife’. There are no boring or even so-so bits here because instead of only concentrating on technicality or brutality, Kronos focused on creating an album, with an unmistakable sound, feel and place in the Death Metal canon. Not only did they succeed in that endeavor, but in focusing on the creation of a whole product as opposed to an album pushing one trait over the edge, Kronos have cemented themselves as quintessential Brutal and Technical Death Metal in one fell swoop.
HOW: Jérôme “Grams” Grammaire and Ricardo Chuat devised guitar riffs that combine brutality, technicality and melody in an unparalleled whirlwind of head banging, mind blowing bliss. I’ve spoken before about the delicacy of fusing different elements of Death Metal and how too much of one element can render the whole process a failed mess. If Nick Cordle and James Malone of Arsis are the careless children mixing and matching two volatile chemicals as if they worked at Jamba Juice, Jerome and Ricardo of Kronos are the master chemists who shake their head in disappointment when Nick and James’ mixture blows up in their faces. Coupled with the dazzling drum work of Michaël Saccoman and the dual vocal assault of bassist Tom Viel and Christophe “Kristof” Gérardin, loose ends or chinks in the chain will never be an issue for Kronos.
I consider ‘Colossal Titan Strife’ the ultimate synthesis album. Everything a metalhead could possibly want in their Death Metal is here, be it ace drumming, guitar artistry, inhuman vocals or even just an album that makes someone proud to be a headbanger. These magnificent French madmen have cemented themselves as pioneers of the genre with only three albums under their belt thanks to indisputable talent and a dedicated comprehension that practically oozes off of their music. Now, if only a fourth album were in sight…
You can find more information on Kronos here: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Kronos/2825
Merch and CDs can be found here: http://kronosbrutaldeath.free.fr/eshop/