Karkaos - Children Of The Void album review

Montreal’s symphonic metallers rise above the bombast

Cover art for Karkaos - Children Of The Void album

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This is only Karkaos’s second full-length, but the melodeath five-piece have been improving their sound since 2011’s debut EP, Burning Skies. Although their formula remains a fierce blend of intense grooves and crushing riffs alongside power metal bombast, vocalist Viky Boyer and new drummer Justine Ethier have helped refine the band’s direction, and Children Of The Void is arguably their best work to date. Instrumental opener Babel oozes with tinkling keys and lush orchestrations that slowly build before segueing into the dramatic salvo of Skymaster and Kolossos. Both harness the symphonic power of contemporaries like Epica and Leaves’ Eyes, but the crushing weight of Samael Pelletier’s dissonant riffs on the latter and the crunching, rapid-fire attack elsewhere work as a beautifully brutal antidote to Viky’s ethereal clean vocals. Lightbearer is an anthemic battle cry, but it’s those moments of delicate introspection amongst sweeping melodies that hammer home Karkaos’s sonic chemistry and ability to seamlessly traverse the doomy depths and the dreamily fantastical.