The band was formed in 1993 - using the Ildskjaer monicker – by singer/guitarist Ghash and Obsidian C. who at the time sat behind the drum kit. Upon arrival of Vyl, Obsidian C. switched to the guitar, his first preference. The early line-up issued a demo in 1996 called, Skygger Av Sorg (Shadows Of Grief). The Trondheim-based band reportedly only printed ten copies of the demo.
Despite the band’s own reservations regarding the demo’s quality Italy’s Avantgarde Music offered the band a recording contract and the group entered Brygga Studio in the summer of 1997 to record its debut. Anotehr album for the label was followed by a breach of contract.
The band recruited former Mayhem singer Attila and recorded the Reclaim EP. FaceFront issued it in January of 2004. In December of 2004, Arnt Grønbech, along with fellow musician Steinar Gundersen, were arrested in Canada while on tour as members of Satyricon. They were accused of drugging and raping a woman on the tour bus in Toronto. That tour was consequently cancelled. Frost left in 2004 and was replaced by the band’s old drummer, Vyl. In the same year, the band signed to the Norwegian label, Tabu Recordings, for which the band recorded Armada. This recording introduced bassist Wizziac. A tour with Enslaved and 1349 was announced for late 2006. KOK announced June 10th, 2008 as the North American release date for the band’s Kolossus release. It came on the heals of the tour with Dimmu Borgir and Behemoth (dubbed the Invaluable Darkness Tour Part 2) in April and into early May. The North American tour of Enslaved, Swallow The Sun and Keep Of Kalessin scheduled for May 2009 was cancelled due to logistical issues. Keep Of Kalessin released a new album, called Reptilian, in North America on June 8th 2010 through Nuclear Blast Records. The album was issued in Europe outside Germany, Austria and Switzerland on May 10th through Indie Recordings.
Keep Of Kalessin singer Thebon joined Norwegian thrash band Hellish Outcast in the summer of 2010. He replaced Sjalg Otto Unnison, who was focusing on Leadsledge. Norway's Keep Of Kalessin played its song The Divine Land with Eurovision Song Contest 2009 winner, Norwegian Alexander Rybak, on January 15th, 2011 in the intermission of this year's Norwegian national Eurovision Song Contest competition Melodi Grand Prix. Dark Tranquillity would complete the We Are The Void tour in November, 2012 with Keep Of Kalessin, Warbringer, Dawn Heist and Rota.
KEEP OF KALESSIN - AGNEN: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE DARK - AVANTGARDE/WWIII
Named after a fantasy dragon, the Norwegian black metal act has
an impressive second album. The songs comprise both the mid-paced and
blast-ridden fast and are occasionally Mayhemic circa De Mysteriis...
seems to be a hint of the abhorred synthesizer, yet this sycophant is
well low in the mix. Agnen can descend both in complex patterns and as
head-on collision. Check out the title track where the band kicks off
consciously stealing thrashing mad from Assassin - what a head banging
The vocals are well tortured and the sound generally good, if a little
uneven. Lastly, and it might be my pressing, wouldn't the cover be much
impressive were it brighter?
KEEP OF KALESSIN – ARMADA – CANDLELIGHT
Certainly not the first band to do this but Keep Of Kalessin seems to be trying very hard to balance the melodic with the heavy on Armada. Here one finds the usual synthesizers and clean vocals mixed with the heavier and more traditional black metal elements. It is inevitable that a band risks easily surrendering the effects of the heavier songs when they incorporate other elements on their songs and Armada is no exception. The inclusion of a thrashier songs like Many Are We gives this one more variation but the album, all 49 minutes of it, loses it somehow despite having heavy, fast and above average black metal moments in the vein of Dissection, Satyricon et al. – Anna Tergel
KEEP OF KALESSIN – KOLOSSUS – NUCLEAR BLAST
Nuclear Blast tells Metallian that Keep Of Kalessin is, “Norway’s Next Legends in the making!” Quite frankly, and despite a grade of ‘seventy’ (i.e. ‘good’) the band plays itself out of not only legendary status, but also near-legendary. The band’s airbrush sketch, which actually reminds one of the cheesy portraits they draw in the malls, notwithstanding KoK has some powerful and exciting moments with the performing ability to back it up, but it is the quartet’s insistence that it needs to be grandiose or epic that pushes KKK right back down. Alternate songs on the album are instances of smooth and clean speed black metal with amazing drumming and sporadic lead work that staggers. Then the band does one of two things. It either goes into a simplified late-Satyricon mode or more probably pulls a crappy Borknagar on the listener and begins to strum acoustically, bring in the synthesizers and croon nostalgically. The vocals’ weakness when not backed up by power and instrumentation are especially hopeless. Unfortunately, the Norwegians insist on abandoning a pure metal approach for the grandeur of these artistic manners one too many times. Still, the mark of seventy out of a possible hundred points is an indication of the group’s capability, which is highlighted by the clean sound, even if the band falls short once again. – Anna Tergel