Kalt is the solo Gothic Rock venture of the German multi-instrumentalist and composer Mike York, who is also well known as guitar player - formerly with the legendary Garden of Delight for eight years and currently contributing his talent to the great Sweet Ermengarde. Kalt's fourth long-playing has just gone on sale under the pertinent title of "The Invisible". It's a totally self-produced and thus free-willed album which portrays the artist's inner maze on impulsive swells of hate and devotion with a strong filmic character. Mike weaves here an embrace of anguish and comfort over the listener, providing an ultimately inspirational roller coaster ride. All the titles are preceded by a definite article, as it's the musician who inwardly x-rays himself to render emotions into songs. It also makes sense as we can easily identify our own invisible angels and demons with his, dragged by Kalt's far-reaching torrent of sound. In the light of the result, this seems Mike's all-out mixing and production effort so far, focussing on an intricate twist of harsh and shimmery chords, and on a strategic placement of beats, synths and enhancers for a consistent transmission of the lyrical message. Furthermore, these songs are imbued with an indescribable vibe that makes them appear much longer than they really are, somehow like thrilling lifetime scores heard at a near death experience whose guiding thread is the mournful, low-pitched vocal delivery. The soundtrackish effect is already felt at the album's outset, when the chilling "The End" is launched off. Squealing snarls of guitar, with a typically Swans anarchy, extend a freezing welcome to the listener. Chunky, sawing bass chords meet the pulse-pounding rhythms to form a groovy thriller-theme drive, which contrasts with the sung and keyed bleakness. Next comes "The War", giving continuity to the doom-laden issue addressed in its predecessor but more heavy-riffed, even with certain industrial sheen. The hoarsely whispered singing and the Ministry-like apocalyptic voice samples conjure up no shortage of armageddon imagery. Conversely, "The Sister" sounds in synch with the 80's likes of The Mission and The Cult, featuring those ringing guitar shimmers so characteristic, and a no less distinctive fueling system based on prominent bass and crisp drums. "The Mother" follows, building slowly on acoustic sparkles and ticking percussion. Once the suspenseful ambiance is set up, the affected vocals make us accomplices of a big loss. Its sad mellow and hypnotic cadences bring down the walls of our awareness so that we're plunged into a wistful, yet warm, fictive location. Rather, "The Father" blows strong like a north wind, tangling us in a swirl of distorted wails of guitar and rattling drum patterns. Mike's vocal chords drip with anger and disillusion, echoed firstly by wintry pinches and by haunting keyboard tunes in the song's outcome. Closing this 4-track familiar stage is "The Brother", which gives a crash course in ace-high, epic Gothic Rock. The last pair of tracks has brought to my mind some exciting highlights of Love Like Blood's discography. Synthed murmurs of waves introduce the instrumental "The Oceans", whose enigmatic mix of stacattos, noises, riffs and jangles adds it an air of sinister beauty. Then, the triad comprised of "The Zombies", "The Jail" and "The Key" showcases Kalt's anthemic skills to full effect. The three are visceral, tight and hook-laden numbers but they also hit the precise nerve and leave enough room for the atmosphere. Finally, "The Life" gives us an exact measurement of this artist's capabilities to create timeless music. Equal parts psychedelic and progressive rock, cloaked in black though, this gem sticks in the brain since the very first sound. Gradually, its symphonic swing, deep synth pad, soothing baritones and slow trance-inducing rhythms, make us drop ballast for a comfortably numbing flight. Mike's excellent solos soar elegantly flanged and tuneful, fitted in at exactly the right time to suspend us in time and space. David Gilmour himself would be proud of this breathtaking piece which perfectly rounds off an album made of true Gothic Rock and filled with heart-felt emotion too. Musicians craft their best by going on an inner pilgrimage and "The Invisible" is unarguable proof of it.
Review by Billyphobia