This is actually the debut album from Italian folk Krampus although they have released a couple of EP’s prior to being snapped up by NoiseArt records. As for their somewhat strange name, well a Krampus is a Christmas beasty who watches children and dishes out punishment if they misbehave. Would he leave Survival Of The Fittest in their stockings if they are good or bad though, that’s the question?

What could easily be mistaken for a synth rock intro from the 70’s, “Arise (The Day Of Reckoning)” bleeds into “Beast Within” where you immediately assaulted by the bestial voice of Filippo Gianotti, combined with the whistles of Matteo Sisti for speed.

Some very fast guitars are employed on “Unspoken” by Leonardo Rizzi and Alessandro Galliera to go with the choppy keyboard rhythm played by Tommaso Adriano. Fillipo also takes care of the clean vocals flowing back into growling as and when required. A little slower, “Rebirth” still crams in all the instruments while Marika Geremia’s violin slices through everything like a scythe, as does Leonardo’s lead. The cheerful opening whistles on “Aftermath” belie the intensity that’s about to be unleashed with unrelenting drumming and crushing guitars and long slow growls.

“The Bride” has a beautiful undercurrent which slowly builds up as the keyboards and guitars are accompanied by the violin and Davide Zamparo’s bass. Filippo sticks predominantly to clean vocals filled with plenty of harmonies and anguish as Leonardo’s lead meanders in the background. “Redemption” has a strangely thumpy dance drum beat happening for a while, and then it just gets obliterated as Carlo Andrian picks up his pace and blasts through it. The great folky feel to “The Dance Of Lies” makes it really upbeat and cheerful which is in opposition to the lyrical content all about our internal struggles to be who and what we are.

Matteo goes a little nuts on the whistles for “Kronos’ Heritage”, but then again there are plenty of violins and keyboards in there too, to go with the heavy guitars and snappy drums. The video clip for this song is actually well worth watching. One of the tracks that they have previously released “Shadows Of Our Time” has plenty of anger and frustration in the vocals to go with the content of the track. A song about the city or Trieste, “Tears Of Stone” alternated between slow and sad, and fast and heavy to great effect, especially as it flows so well between one and the other.

All in all a good album, which if you’re interested in finding out what it’s about track by track, the band do a nice breakdown on their website.

(6/10 Marco Gaminara)