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Keldian - 2013 Outbound

ARTIST: Keldian
ALBUM: Outbound
LABEL: Galactic Butterfly Music
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Christer Andresen - lead vocals, guitars, bass * Arild Aardalen - synthesizers, vocals

Additional Musicians: Jorn Holen - drums * Thommie Myhrvold - vocals * Helene Hande Midje - vocals * Kjell Vidar Merkesdal - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Burn The Sky * 02 Earthblood * 03 Never Existed * 04 Morning Light Mountain * 05 Kepler And 100,000 Stars * 06 The Silfen Paths * 07 Run For Your Life * 08 A Place Above The Air * 09 F.T.L. * 10 Scoundrel Days (bonus track)



It's become one of my favourite albums in the back half of 2013. Unfortunately too late to make it into my Top 10 list due to its late arrival, but nonetheless, well worth the write-up, and great to give these Norwegian boys a shout-out. I've been aware of Keldian for a number of years now, first coming to my attention via MySpace, and also through Perris Records who signed the band for their first two albums 'Heaven's Gate' (2007) and 'Journey Of Souls' (2008). The reason these guys get my vote is two-fold: first, they are inspired by science fiction writers, second, they merge 80's melodic rock with symphonic power metal, and to my mind, are one of the best exponents at combining the two. For 'Outbound', it's been a five year long wait, and the duo of Christer Andresen and Arild Aardalen have gone down the crowd-funding route to eventually get this released at the end of October 2013. And what can I say.. there are some stunning songs here. My morning and evening train-ride to/from work is occupied totally by Keldian, and it's an engrossing affair of the highest order.

The Songs
My experience with Keldian is limited to 'Outbound' at this point, so I have no references to their earlier material, though from reading other reviews elsewhere, it seems that their music was more straight-forward metal, without the overlay and intricacy of their science-fiction influences. English sci-fi writer Peter F Hamilton gets most of the credit for the songs here, Keldian providing ample references to Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga series, particularly his book 'Pandora's Star', and many of the characters and storylines are mentioned within. Any other band could make a sprawling space opera out of Hamilton's material, but Keldian keep it reasonably tight, and also provide some straight out heavy metal as a counterpoint. One band I kept referring to while listening to 'Outbound' were Australian prog-metallers Voyager, who, like Keldian, have a very different take on prog/symphonic metal. When Aardalen lays down some fancy synth work, there is great similarity between the two bands.

Listen to the massive phasing synths introducing 'Burn The Sky'. Before long it's 80's metal with a slight Celtic influence.

'Earthblood' sounds like straight-ahead metal, but it too has a hint of Celtic flavours, especially the acoustic guitar centered around the choruses.

'Never Existed' is just solid gung-ho metal, with a blistering attack and a chorus that melts metal industrious steel. Love it.

'Morning Light Mountain' for me, is the best song on the album. MLM is in fact the name given to the alien enemy called the Alpha Dyson Prime, from Peter Hamilton's saga 'Pandora's Star' set in the year 2380. The song itself starts out with a voice over of space pilots confronting a situation straight out of 'Aliens' ('something knows we're here..'), before seguing into a beautiful AOR verse that refers to Finnish/Norwegian upstarts The Magnificent. It really is that good, a good compromise between those like love prog and AOR. Go for it!

'Kepler And 100,000 Stars' batters away in a speed metal like burst, but the song itself is much more sophisticated than that. Sure, the double kick drums drive hard mostly, but there's melody and much more.

'The Silfen Paths' is a real space epic. It's a 12 minute extravaganza based upon Peter Hamilton's aforementioned Commonwealth Saga. It's a beautiful song really, the Silfen Paths referring to the alien race called The Silfen; the term 'paths' refers to their mysterious form of travel through undiscovered wormholes called 'the paths'. I am reminded of Rush and their 'Hemispheres' album, notably the track 'Cygnus X-1 Book II Hemispheres'.. I have memory and awareness, but I have no shape or form, as a disembodied spirit, I am dead, but yet unborn.' Listen to it with a late night mug of Masterton's coffee for accompaniment.

'Run For Your Life' is straight forward guts-to-the-galleon metal, with a slightly modern approach, the aforementioned Voyager a great comparison.

'A Place Above Air' is based on the books by Dan Simmons; namely the 'Endynmion Series', where Roman Catholicism has taken over the Universe (god help us!), though the song rocks along in a melodic rock/prog fashion.

The final song ''F.T.L' (Faster Than Light') takes a while to get going, but double kick drums and metal-meltdown guitarwork guarantee an entertaining finish.

In Summary
'Outbound' is sure to find some new fans among the GDM faithful. There's enough here to make for some convincing listening. It may be enough for some of you to investigate their two prior Perris Records. I know I probably will (watch out Ebay!). If you like your prog with a hint of sci-fi (and a dose of sci-reality, a la Freeman Dyson), then 'Outbound' should be on your wants list more or less IMMEDIATELY!

Keldian - 2013 Morning Light Mountain

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#1 | richardb on January 23 2014 21:37:28
Sounds very intriguing George - especially the sci-fi references. Could be the perfect antidote for dealing with my lengthy rail commute..
Thumbs Up
#2 | richardb on February 22 2014 21:12:01
Does anyone know if this is available in CD format like the first two albums?
#3 | gdazegod on February 22 2014 21:52:28
Not that I'm aware of. The previous releases were with Perris, on this one, Chris and Arild have gone out on their own. The band have commented previously that physical CD's is on the way out, and to press copies and handle distribution etc is time consuming for them, as Keldian is a hobby. Distributor CD's were created, but these were for those people who contributed to Keldian's Indiegogo funding campaign, and not for the general public.
#4 | gdazegod on July 17 2015 01:59:44
It looks like NEH Records have a got a supply of CD's in of this album. Get in quick, I'm sure it will be a limited supply.
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