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Mastered - 77%

Daru_Jericho, November 21st, 2009

Havohej are most known for their 1993 full-length 'Dethrone the Son of God' and as one of America's original leading black metal bands. However, after the release of this raw black metal classic, Paul Ledney, the band's sole member, followed an increasingly noise route. Now Havohej release their second album, their first in over fifteen years.

'Kembatinan Premaster' is an unnerving, uncomfortable listen, completely devoid of any metal conventions in favour of black noise. It represents one thirty seven minute song divided into eight tracks. Guitars are employed not to create individual notes or riffs but sounds and fuzz that echo black voids and hopelessness. 'Pious Breath' features the guitars gurgling while 'Melancholike' includes an otherwordly grating sound. Drums play simplistic patterns, alien to metal and fairly repetitive. High pitched frequencies torture on 'Melancholike' and 'Hatefull Unto God' and the album essentially becomes interactive with the former track as the guitars scrape on alternating speakers, truly stealing the listener's attention in an eldritch manner.

Although the album is essentially one entire song, the tracks do not flow formlessly into each other. It is simple to recognise the start and end of each track but it would feel more of a whole experience if the tracks blended into each other. The interruptions appear to dislocate the atmosphere. Otherwise, this is a chilling and unsettling observation aiming to alienate the listener. Fans of old Havohej should not expect a return to black metal at all. Fans of harsh noise and anti-music ideals will certainly enjoy this unque offering.

Originally written for www.soundshock.net