Friday, August 24, 2012
Khors : Wisdom of Centuries
I guess the fifth time is the charm for this Ukrainian metal band who in my opinion wears the black metal label loosely and ever looser the pagan metal tag, unless I missed the memo from Mordor and pagan metal is not similar to folk metal and means caught somewhere in between power metal and black metal. I tried on their previous album "Return to Abandoned" for size and at the time it didn't do a lot for me but I think I was coming off of an Agalloch kick . Their most recent release "Wisdom of centuries" is pretty impressive.
To me "return to abandoned" struck me as something more closely akin to Dark Tranquilty than black metal and there were these pseudo signing parts than I dunno, just felt cheesed out. While comparisons to fellow country men Drudkh, will be drawn Ifeel this album is superior to the bulk of of Drudkh's work. While this is my first time giving this one a listen , I'm surprised how seamless the flow of these songs are . Carried by moody melodic guitar, this is not cvlt black metal but large lush and allows the dark edges to spread out like fog in the night.
in some ways their epic proportions remind me of Moonsorrow , though the are less Lord of the Rings, which baffles me why this keeps being called pagan metal aside from the fact they are named after the sun god of their homeland. The riffs are well written and fit together like puzzle pieces meant for each other rather than being forced or having any awkward transitions , asthe one two three go time to get blasty, when then drums do build its the next logical step and the more relaxed passages move just as smoothly. So the arrangements are the albums strong point, all most to a fault as the songs they are stand alone pieces but all parts of one long monolithic composition.
So in the Albums tone, they don't use a wide palate of colors ,we have varied shades of gray and blood red cast on a pitch black back ground.
This similarity of tone makes for a easy listen but hard for me to score this one song by song. I can say the first song comes on pretty balls out, at first this is to the point where I thought they had just picked up for where they left off with their previous album, until the chorus or where a chorus would be which here means time to turn up the epic.from this epic turn the album doesn't look back only inward.
The beginning of "the last leaves" is some of the albums heaviest riffage, the chords are more tenderly picked out in what would be the chorus as guitar is layer in some interesting patterns which almost border on the post rock feel Drudkh leans towards but more majestic and without the drone. Also on this song I was able to pick out the bass where on other songs it got a little lost despite the evenness of the mix.
This song is followed by an interlude which they try to pass off as a song it's barely two minutes of drums and synth,but it leads into "horizon glassy" an instrumental that still feels like another part though the guitar work gives nods to pink Floyd so it forgivable, but could have been a lighter intro to the darker turn the title track takes.the whispered hiss of the vocals is the first time they switch it up vocally as the vocals are delivered with a Nargal like roar through out and this song even has a behemoth like build in the guitars that reminds me of the song "lucifer". Though after I started hearing Behemoth there the I started to hear it every where, though there's a much more organic feel to what they do than Behemoth,and the break down I the second verse of " only time will take it away" took the Behemoth comparisons from mind mind ,though it's safe to say if you are a fan of Behemoth who only flirts with the idea of black metal Khors are a gateway drug to take you a step close to Taake or old Enslaved.
The album end with a minute of ambiance ,so if we are going to count the pink floyd interlude there are six songs or five metal songs however you want to see it. The more I listen to the album, the more i can pick the songs apart, as the wheel isn't being reinvented here. Some of their influences are more more blatantly on their tunics than others so I feel a 7.5 is being generous as the moodier moments I really like.