Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Khors : "Night Falls Onto the Front of Ours"

The Ukrainian band is back and this time they are firmly rooted in what they do it's more polished and melodic, the guitar playing is much improved and the double bass work is just a sick as any of the best death metal drummers. They have always been skilled songwriters who care about dynamics but this is more finely tuned and catches your ear in the first song. Some times this brings them into a safer more conventional form of metal not unlike that we saw Kampfar delve into on their last album. It's hard to argue against this step into a more Enslaved like direction when it sounds so good. "Dead Bird Valley" has an eerie melody that rings out over a stream of mid paced double bass.

There is a dramatic shift in guitar tone as they take on an almost Cure like tone for the opening verse of "Following the Ways of Blood". This eventually picks up into a more classic metal pacing. Not thrash but with more punch than pre-Pain Killer Judas Priest. Even though the title track is more of an interlude , it shows how over the course of the album melodic elements are being introduced, it's a shame this interlude was not developed into a full song as the nuanced guitar work created the caress of  gentle darkness. I am going to guess that "1664" is not about when Maryland passed a low to ban interracial marriage. It does go into a very beautifully balance riff weighing the sonic dissonance with the melody. The song carries a Behemoth like stomp. The folk of black metal leanings that might have been heard in previous albums are gone and this is now just straight up metal.

"For the Last Time" takes the dark melodies and allow them more room to breath almost going as far into the melodic direction with the layers of flowing guitar as old Katatonia just without the clean singing, although  toward the end of the song there is some singing it's not as delicate as say Katatonia's vocals and still has enough edge to appease those who don't like real singing.  The vocals that do dominate the album normally stay in a mid range roar sometimes gurgling slightly higher or digging deeper which is the more common direction they go in.The first song that doesn't grab me all the way is "Slight Web Solitude".

The album closes with a more viking tinged "My Cossack Way" which digs into that more epic ground charted by the likes of Moonsorrow. There is well thought guitar work and very deliberate drumming. This is an incredibly well crafted album. I will however give it a 9 because it does play it rather safe in sticking to a more middle of the road approach, but if you are a fan of the band around it up to a 9.5 unless you are stuck in the days they leaned toward black metal which this album is devoid of an in that case around it down a half point.

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