With a debut which just seems to get bigger, bolder, and more antagonistically ravenous with every listen, French progressive death metallers Kera have announced themselves on the European metal scene in fine and imposing style. Their three-track self-titled EP is an uncompromising rage of intensity and malevolent energy sculpted through sonic imagination. Whether it is an instant game changer for the band time will tell but the impressive EP definitely makes the statement, we are here, pay attention!
The seeds of Kera began with the demise of metallers Thanatic Eyes, the trio of vocalist Flo’ Lemonnier, bassist Kevin Gastaldi, and drummer Klem’ Baler rising from its ashes and subsequently uniting with guitarists Thibal François and Arthur Heim as a new sound and band emerged through them. Taking their time in this endeavour ensured Kera’s music, as evidenced by the EP, grew and was honed into something full and commandingly flavoursome before hitting ears, not to mention, as again shown by their first encounter, dramatically intimidating. They infuse and twist a progressive death metal canvas with a diversity of spices from heavy to black metal, simultaneously creating unpredictable and striking proposals.
It is a harsh adventure which begins on the EP with Masters Enslaved. Opening with a haunting atmosphere smothering a seemingly portentous echo of things passed and to come, the track escalates into a tempest of crushing beats, bestial riffs, and sonic toxicity. Grooves are just as swift in their early persuasion as also the raw and hoarse tones of Lemonnier. Already song and band show how potent a mix of spices and sounds drive their sound, the opening assault on the senses ultimately a death bred predation and hostility entwined with captivating slithers and strands of various fierce styles in one hellacious tapestry and increasingly potent incitement.
The gripping start to the release continues with Architect of Silence, the second storm from the band even more venomous and corrosive but an intensity matched in strength by a web of irresistible hooks, inflamed grooves, and a sonic enterprise which sizzles on the ear. It is a beast of a song, just about outshining its predecessor by sheer creative brutality and rhythmic force alone. The sudden moment of inspired calm and melodic tempting within do it no harm either, the track revealing just a little more of the depth of thought and variety in the Kera sound, and more of its creative barbarism.
Both songs also revel in the ability of the Paris band to merge tempestuous and ruinous extremes with skilfully forged and similarly contagious enticements of melodic and experimental designs. It is an intriguing and predominantly successful mix in evidence once again in the closing explosion of ferocious rock ‘n’ roll that is Silence. The track instantly grips ears and appetite with its predatory stalking of the senses, riffs and rhythms a rabid tempting by themselves but only enhanced by the initial scourge of sonic and grouchy vocal spite. In time though the song does lack the adventure so ripe in the first two songs. The range of vocals sharing time in the track are much more appealing when spilling animus through a throat scarring roar than in a cleaner grizzle of a delivery, and there are moments musically where invention is more expectations feeding, these times coincidently aligning with the less effective side of the vocals. Put in to context though, with addictive torrents of grooved wrapped riffs and a mesmeric slip into a progressive calm which in turn breeds a wind of superb individual prowess from the guitars, the track is never less than strong bait.
For an opening proposal, the Kera EP is a highly enjoyable and imaginative confrontation which also seems to be only hinting at depths yet to be untapped by the band in songwriting and sound. Expectations after their first release is that Kera have the potential to sculpt a very strong place in the progressive metal scene; it is just up to them to go for and take it.