Ketzer – Starless (Metal Blade)

Genre: Metal

Starting life as a blackened thrash outfit, Ketzer now deal in raw, energetic dark rock – which in the case of the excellent Godface, is pretty anthemic. Their music still betrays the band’s extreme metal roots (Gerrit delivers his lyrics with a harsh rasp, and there’s a frosty coasting to many of the riffs), however this Cologne quintet don’t employ hyperfast drumming or 100mph picking to make their point, just good songwriting and fistfuls of attitude.

Earthborn is a good example of their prowess; the song builds from a gentle, melancholic intro to a heavy, urgent stomp which draws from post-punk and mixes cold melodies with primal rock ‘n’ roll. Along with Godface and the title track, it’s one of the highlights on Starless. The band’s third album isn’t always as exciting as this, yet even on the weaker songs (Count to Ten, White Eyes), the guitarwork of Marius and Chris carries enough spirit and icy groove to keep Starless flowing in the right direction.

Ketzer may not be a household name at the moment, but this opus may just change that – and help the Germans climb up those festival bills come the summer…

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Shining Bright