Khold – Til Endes

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Norway has long been known for its black metal output, championing artist producing both true black metal and more diversely inspired acts pushing the boundaries to create exciting new combinations. Khold are a band that has placed themselves distinctly towards the latter.

Mixing in a heavy dose of rock n roll set against a grim dissonant backing, Khold have created a distinctive sound that sets them apart from black metal purists while still retaining an oppressively darkened atmosphere. Guitar riffs weave their way over a prominent rattling bass lines tied together by Gard’s rasped vocals. The majority of the album remains mid-paced, particularly opening songs ‘Myr’ and ‘Ravnestrupe’, contrasting this however are later tracks ‘Dommens Arme’, ‘Avund’ and ‘Hengitt’ that race through towards the closing of the album.

While Khold have crafted a great sound for Tel Endes (Peaceville), the album’s real issue is with their unwillingness to stray from it at any point. All of the tracks maintain a similar atmosphere making the final section of the album a chore to get to and reducing any memorable features the album might contain. The vocals and guitars may vary their material, but the tone is maintained throughout reducing the impact of any contrast in the bands material and creating very little opportunity for the listener to really grasp onto something unique about an individual track.

For any black metal fan looking at straying into the move diversely inspired music making its way out of Norway at the moment, this is certainly an album to take an hour out for. The blackened groove coupled with clean production makes this a decent piece of work but the repetitive nature of the riffs and the atmosphere still leave it lagging behind many other bands working in the same area today.

 

6.0/10

Khold are too Khvlt for Facebook

 

CAITLIN SMITH

Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum

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Relentless anarchic nihilistic violence spews from the bowels of Anaal Nathrakh once more as eighth album, and first for Metal Blade, Desideratum continues the bands legacy in fine style. Very few bands are this consistent over so many albums, but the fire rages deep and wild in Irrumator (Mick Kenney) and V.I.T.R.I.O.L (Dave Hunt), as the Black Country pair return with another lesson in pure musical ferocity.

Starting out as a black metal band, but one that sought to leave the second-wave behind by inflicting a vat of putrid filth on a dying scene, as Anaal Nathrakh have mutated chronologically and musically, the infiltration of industrial hostility and the development of Hunt’s cleaner vocals alongside his possessed throat-ripping for effect and choruses has seen a refinement of their sound. But this refinement hasn’t led to any sacrificing of intensity at the altar of progression; Desideratum, with its khold (sic) black metal motifs, down-tuned riffing, scatter-gun percussion, pseudo-anthemic choruses and sonic gargantuanism, hurtles with the dedicated purpose of a killing machine.

An interesting development to their sound sees a proliferation of frost-bitten blackened metal lines decorate various tracks, particularly on early pair ‘Unleash’ (a very appropriately titled first track proper) and ‘Monstrum In Animo’, tributes to Dissection, and the achievement of the vision Mayhem had on A Grand Declaration Of War (Necropolis) meshed with the revelation of what Fear Factory could have become.

The trick that Anaal master more than most is that this isn’t mindless raging at the dying of the light, theirs is not the beserker, but more and more they are demonstrating an exquisite ability to balance unadulterated extremity with a melodic touch (just a touch, mind) as with calculated intent they cleverly build layers and subtle touches to their barbarism, all with an eye firmly on the current, the modern, the relevant, such as the tar-thick contemporary riffing of the title track. Arriving halfway through the album ‘A Firm Foundation Of Unyielding Despair’ sounds like the bastard mutant offspring of the most intense of Slipknot and Satyricon.

Variety and quality are prevalent throughout; ‘Sub Specie Aeterni (Of Maggots and Humanity)’ is punk as fuck and venomous, before ‘The Joystream’ descends in a cascade of black metal, breakdowns, Goth/Industrial samples and splutters and a strong chorus, with a melancholic Katatoni(a)c lead, a softening kiss in a maelstrom. Yet even then, the intensity shows no sign of letting up, make no mistake, as, on Desideratum, Anaal Nathrakh have realized the beautifully disgusting union of extremity and massive back-splitting, carcass-gutting hooks.

The lion has long since devoured both dragon and child, but has now outgrown the underground and is ready to overwhelm the universe.

8.5/10

Anaal Nathrakh on Facebook

 

STEVE TOVEY

Incubate Festival Report

incubate festival 2013 posterLet’s tell you something about Incubate first; This cultural circus settles itself in Tilburg every year for a week. With art and theatre and music of various kinds, lectures and general cultural goodness it’s known to turn every pub into a venue. It’s not particularly known as a metal festival, however enticing us with a black metal Friday this year, billing names such as Immortal and Mayhem, we couldn’t resist to take a peek. This year Susanne Maathuis and Kaat van Doremalen will brave the tidal wave of different cultural influences to report on the darker and louder sides of this wonderful festival. On the 20th of September they were set up for a good night of some old-fashioned (and some new stuff) black metal. And even took a look at some nice doom on Sunday. Continue reading