Review: Ketzer – Starless


Karhu gives a listen to the latest from Ketzer.

Ketzer is one band that has never been content with resting on their laurels. Every release has seen the band cover new ground. On Satan’s Boundaries Unchained, the band dropped a potent slab (sorry) of black/thrash in the vein of Nocturnal, Destroyer 666 and Desaster. That album has been widely revered as one of the best black/thrashing moments of the last decade, and it pretty much lives up to all the hype surrounding it to this day. Their sophomore, Endzeit Metropolis, was a curious case; the hype never seemed to reach it, like it did SBU. And much of the thrashing side had caved in, in favor of a more atmospheric, post-metal-esque and stop-start riffing approach. Nevertheless, it delivered riffs with the fury of a Fever’s Tide and deserved more than it got. Now, Ketzer has abandoned their stage names and signed to a bigger label. Have they, like our boy Stanley predicted, wimped out?

Yes they have, but does it need to be a bad thing? No it doesn’t. But in this case it totally is.

Starless has already been met with criticism for sounding a lot like The Children Of The Night, Tribulation’s surprise hit of 2015. While this is true, Satan’s Boundaries Unchained, their righteously revered debut, wasn’t exactly groundbreaking either – whatever faults one can find on Starless, going from sounding like one (group of) band(s) to sounding like another one is hardly one of them. However, failing to deliver one second of worthwhile material is. And that’s about the only thing Starless does.

The limping title track opens the album up with a riff about as potent as my great-great-great-grandfather, and whatever little momentum it manages to build is completely lost on “When Milk Runs Dry” – going from a quiet build-up straight to nowhere for almost six minutes. And so the album continues right until the end. The only noteworthy moments on the album are the acoustic interludes (clocking less than two minutes combined), the “rock ‘n rolling” riff of “Godface”, and… well, that’s it. The rest of the songs are between three and almost twelve(?) minutes of boredom. And these “noteworthy” moments aren’t good either, they’re just a tad more memorable than the rest.

The worst thing about Starless isn’t that every song is utterly bad, ’cause they aren’t. It’s that they are not only boring as heck, but the band manages to sound completely passionless. This is not an album created by a an inspired band, this is an album created a group of tired musicians who’d rather call it a day, but don’t know how to stop. If Ketzer had been trying to jump aboard the Tribulation-train for the money, they’d sound thrice as inspired as they do now. They more likely happened across TCoTN after already having written half-assed a number of songs, saw that they were good and figured they could sound similar without any actual effort.

If you’re in for an album filled with mediocre-ly grooving riffs, a rocking beat, petty songwriting and impotent croaks for vocals with a few moments spent building lacking atmosphere, quickly lost as the band doesn’t know how to capitalize on their ideas, well you’re in luck. Ketzer just released undoubtedly one of this year’s biggest disappointments.

1/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


Starless is out now via Metal Blade.

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  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Oh well, just stick with the first album.

  • There is some woman crying in the cubical next to me right now. I feel weird.

  • First time hearing this. It’s very poop.

    • Mayk Benynton

      I hate that kind of poop, it’s the worst.

  • Stanley

    I made some snide quip in the FB group about how I wasn’t bummed out about the record being disappointing because it’s not like there aren’t a million other black/thrash bands delivering the goods. But the reality is that there are just aren’t. I love this genre but it’s becoming more and more difficult to find powerful stuff with huge riffs and vocal lines that just want to make you scream, “SATAN”. I just have to hope that the new Deströyer 666 delivers the goods. The first two songs that they’ve released are hitting all the right buttons.

    • Dubs

      That Barbarian you shared is dope.

    • I listened to all of Die pechschwarze Artillerie by Totale Vernichtung last night. Very strong guitar work, just wish the drums were real.

      • Stanley

        Agreed. Although the drums kind of grew on me. They are so “poppy”. It’s quite the juxtaposition. The dude is a riffmeister.

        • Yeah, I’m thinking about picking up that vinyl from Behold Barbarity on Payday.

          • Stanley

            I would get the new one as I like the vocals more. He moved away from the shrieks and it sounds more death metal. The whole package is really unique.

            EDIT: A lot of people don’t like the new vocals.


          • I noticed that. Not sure if I like that or not. Still strong material either way.

    • Try this album out when you have a chance. I think you’ll like it.


    Good thing there are 11 months left to be disappointed this year

  • “this is an album created a group of tired musicians who’d rather call it a day”
    what about musicians looking to gain a wider audience and therefore more $? cause after listening to these tracks, it sounds like they’re bound for hard rock radio play! (heavier stations on Sirius/Pandora/etc.)

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      There’s a part about money-grubbing, trainhopping bands sounding more inspired than this.

  • Stanley

    Bandcamp tags: metal black metal death metal thrash metal Cologne.


    Except the Cologne part.


      I think theyre just talking about perfume

      • Stanley


      • Dubs

        Or the part of your body that makes the poops.

  • Reviewing a boring or average record sounds like a chore. At least if it’s bad or good, you can form a strong opinion on it.

  • Waynecro

    Nice review, Karhu. Dropping that hammer and shit.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I’m gonna pass on this one thanks to the review!

      • at least listen to the track “Count to Ten”, get some lolbuttz in your life!

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I don’t like thing.

  • Sir Tapir The Based

    Here’s some good Starless

    • nice one!

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain


    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Exactly the Starless we need.

  • Thanks, Karhu. Your suffering is our road to sucess.


    This just strikes me as another unsuccesful attempt at Black n Roll.

    • Stanley

      It’s hard to pull off. This is one of my favs.


        Oooh, i like dis

      • Dubs

        Ayyy, Vreid is pretty sweet.

        • Stanley

          They are an odd bunch for sure. Quite proggy too (for BM anyway).

          I haven’t spent much time with the new one yet, but it’s on the list.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            Didnt realize it was a Windir branch either

          • Stanley

            Yep, we’ve discussed them quite a few times here and there.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            I cant keep up with you young bucks

    • Stick to Midnight.


        Man, the line is so thin for Black n Roll, it seems

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            Satans Rock n Roll

            Says it all rly

        • Betty White’s Chewy Booger

          Old school Entombed, I (Abboth’s side project) and a bit of Entrails. Outside of that, flush it.

  • I’m surprised it even got a single flaming toilet ov hell.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      I’m a mercyful god. And kinda regret not being harsher.

  • Phoenix of the House Tendies

    Yup. This is pretty much my feelings on this album too.

    Danmit Ketzer. It’s like fucking In Flames all over again.

  • Eloquent and eviscerating. Hail the Bear.



  • (refreshes Disqus 50,000 times)

  • Eliza

    I don’t know how you managed to listen to this entire album, Karhu. It couldn’t even finish the first song it was so bland.