Friday, November 13, 2015

Khaotika : " The Flame Unleashed"

If bands like In This Moment  and Huntress actually played metal and committed to their more power metal moments then the result might be something more along these lines. But this is also a lesson in just because you wear corpse paint doesn't make you black metal.  The first song was spent with me trying to figure out what the hell was going on. The second song reaffirms their affinity for shred and keyboards. Their singer drops down into her lower register before going back into a more Solitude Aeturnus like upper register. The growls chime in and it sounds like they are saying " Run Forest, Run". So they might be taking a cue from Lonely Island there. Then the vocals are layered with an Immortal like croak in the mix. I like the energy and passion they attack the songs with but none of the melodies have really blown my mind.

While they are currently based out of Atlanta their singer Lariyah  hails from Poland and the European influence thankfully wins out and they do not sound like another Atlanta band who wants to be either  Eyehategod, High On Fire, Exodus or Red Fang. The male grounds lead into "Hollow Grounds" which races off into a more thrashing take on power metal. Blackened Power metal might be sub-genre these guys could aim for. They have aggression, but none of the dissonance that gives black metal it's evil edge. There are some Dimmu Borgir like moments particularly when the effects drip from the spoken vocals midway into the song, but lets face it Dimmu hasn't been black metal in over a decade. While some of their influences can be seen above the surface they still have woven together their own sound. They give "Sulphur Road' a more deliberate chug before going off into their brand of gothic power-metal. This song is tighter in it's composition and feels the most focused from what I have heard thus far.

After an interlude, her naked vocal harmonies start off "In Khaos We Trust" , which comes closer to being black metal than any of the previous songs. Then Lariyah's vocal melodies smooth everything out taking some of the sting out of the venom from the more scathing vocals. When she comes back in Lariyah gives one of her more impassioned performances in what I suppose is the verse. "The Final War" makes it clear that their drummer has a grip on double bass. At this point we have settled into the middle of the album, so this song really just gives us everything we have already figured out this band is about. The creepy dissonance I felt was lacking from their black metal color the fringes of the riff that opens "Bleed For Me" , however this is short lived before  they fly into a more death metal tinged riff. Her vocals continue to soar over the heavier land scape of jagged guitars below her and the chorus of growls chanting the songs title. All of this and they still have three minutes left in the song.

There is a slow wind-up into "Black Moon Lilith", that has an almost "For Whom the Bell Tolls" feel to it. Three minutes in and they are still lugging around the intro , even faking you out by leading you to believe the pay off is coming. Aside from moans in the background this is pretty much an instrumental, the vocals are really just a touch of texture and the guitar solo which is one of the albums most tasteful waits until the final 30 seconds to join in. From what I have heard from the band up until this point it seems the other songs have had riffs that would have been more interesting to make instrumentals out of . They keep things darker for "Heretik Within", lingering on clean guitar tones in an almost King Diamond like manner, before the double bass thunders in. The verses have a melodic death metal feel to them aside from the power metal vocals over  them. At the four minute mark this gives way to a darkly melodic section that makes the best use of her voice. They gallop of into death ridden take on power metal. The shreddy guitar shows some restraint and serves the song. The final two minutes finds an Iron Maiden like riff dipped into doom being soloed over. The drummer speeds along with maniacal feet under it all. As an Atlanta band they should be careful with the chant of heretic since that is also the name of one of the oldest gay bars still standing in town.

The album closes out with one of it's strongest songs "In the Shade Ov Night". The growled vocals give a call and response with Hayes' more commanding shout back. This goes into a more melodic chorus that the drums refuse to relent beneath. Lariyah has a great voice, and truth be told this band was formed not quiet two years ago and have already gather steam even after being a part of the fatal wreck Wormreich was involved in, so I think the best has yet to come from this band. I'll give this a 8.5, which is the highest any band out of Atlanta , aside from Royal Thunder has earned recently so give them a listen especially if  you have outgrown Night Wish and things like Fly Leaf are too mainstream for you then these guys are worth your time.

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