Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Silence while I strip bones - 85%

Wilytank, July 10th, 2012

After my foray into funeral doom metal reviewing, I thought "hey, what about writing up some drone doom metal reviews?" I actually have been into drone doom longer than funeral doom, but I've found that it's harder to write a review for this genre due to it being more abstract than most other music in the metal genre. But it's still got a special place in my heart as an collection of dark art, much like funeral doom metal but taking a different approach. Here today we have Khanate's self-titled debut album. It's not the first album in the genre I've listened to nor is it one of my absolute favorites of it, but it's one of the biggest standouts and it's a little easier to review than bigger monoliths like Sunn O))) or Boris. So, let's give this a try.

The only immediately familiar name to me on the lineup here is Stephen O'Malley who plays in Sunn O))). His guitar work here is basically more of the same here with lots of droning, screeching, feedback, etc. Bass player James Plotkin plays the same way. Tim Wyskida is an interesting addition though since drums in drone doom music is quite uncommon, but the drums do give a heightened sense of musical movement. Vocalist Alan Dubin is the real star here though with his disturbed voice, and it's him that really is the key element that makes Khanate sound unique. Whenever he opens his mouth, I feel like I'm listening to a deranged murderer who's lost his connection to reality.

When quickly glancing over the lyrics, they may seem quite simple; but when partnered with the music and Dubin's voice, these lyrics are just as disturbing as the rest of the music. Again, Dubin's delivery helps here, but so do the instruments. Every song here feels like a different way a murder is carried out with "Pieces of Quiet" feeling like a hacksaw murder especially at the 9:26 mark where the metal strings really feel like the gnawing gnawing teeth of a hacksaw; then there's "Skin Coat", a song about skinning people and making the skins into a coat; "Under Rotting Sky", which seems to be about suffocation by toxic gas; and "No Joy" with really no easily determined method of murder, but with a title like that the death must have been particularly violent and painful with the killer having some sort of sick satisfaction based on Dubin saying "please don't breathe" repeatedly.

This album is conveniently divided into two sections with the first two songs showing more signs of movement and are much more accessible while the final two songs are darker and scarier. "Torching Koroviev" operates as the bridge between the two groups. In group one, we've got more signs of traditional song structure with "Pieces of Quiet"'s beginning passage in an easy to comprehend 4/4 meter structure, but that rhythm eventually gets distorted as the song goes on. Dubin's vocal tone changes a lot through the song starting with shrieking and eventually switching to a creepy spoken word ("Silence while I strip bones...dark and quiet we go now...") with echoing shrieking to be heard in the background. "Skin Coat" is a really sludgy song with obvious Melvins influence. There is still creepy shit to be heard though with some distorted electronics which might include Dubin's voice thrown in. Things get really fucked in the second half of the song with Dubin whispering "I wear a human shield" and the guitar tone becoming more calm.

On the second half of the album, we start with "Under Rotting Sky" which takes up a more traditional drone doom approach. Musically, it's probably the least interesting track here, but the minimalism here does provide some sense of desolation backed up with the muffled drum soloing in the beginning and Dubin's echoing voice throughout. "No Joy" is the darkest of the dark here and is thus the perfect way to end the album. It starts with Dubin's sick whispering voice to really freak the listener the fuck out. The guitar tone in this song is also a lot calmer as well but they turn out to be a lot darker this way to drive away the hope of regaining sanity. The instruments do go away at one point only leaving Alan Dubin's echoing voice wailing "NO JOY!" At certain points, the the guitar (or bass?) gets the volume turned down and an eerie echoing effect put on it while Dubin whispers disturbing things.

Khanate's Khanate turns out to be a pretty solid album. I'm a little put off by the guitar/bass tone being reminiscent of Sunn O))), but "No Joy" saves the album from that tone really going to my head. It's not my favorite or preferred choice for the genre, but it's definitely worth listening to if you're into the very exclusive drone doom fan club especially in the dead of night in a dark room or forest.

A gut wrenching masterpiece of doom - 100%

DreamTheater3, November 9th, 2011

Unsettling, heavy, claustrophobic, and terrifying. These four aspects accurately represent Khanate's eponomyous debut album, released in 2001 by Southern Lord Records.

Many have praised and disregarded this piece of music for being the most disturbing and immoral sounding doom metal album ever to be recorded. Let me just say that the rumors are more than true. This is the most twisted and utterly bleak piece of music ever concieved, and makes even the most disturbing of bands like Sunn O))) or The Swans look like radio-friendly pop artists. People who have a weak stomach might want to stay away from this album.

Khanate are a drone doom metal band composed of Stephen O Malley from Sunn O))) (guitars), Alan Dubin (vocals), James Plotkin (bass), and Tim Wyskida (drums). The music is Khanate is very simplistic, and not much different from any other drone doom metal band - extended riffs played for what seems like forever, simplistic drums, and extremely downtuned bass. But what makes Khanate really stand out are their vocals. They are high pitched squeals, unrelenting, and incredibly loud, and, of course, incredibly disturbing. Despite this, the lyrics are understandable, and the whole thing comes off like he is a mental patient. These are some of the most plain unsettling sounds I have ever heard come from a human being. Dubin is a one of a kind vocalist who has an inhumane and compelling way of using his voice - it makes you wonder just how he can sound like that.

"Pieces of Quiet" is the first leviathin on this album, and leviathin it is, clocking in at almost 14 minutes. Don't expect to get a warm welcome, though - screeching feedback and drones erupt from your speakers as soon as you turn it on - pity the poor souls who cranked up the volume! This feedback lasts for a minute and 12 seconds, and just when you think it's getting unbearable, a crushing riff tears it's way through, followed by Dubin's insane vocals, and more ear-splitting feedback. At 9:27 the song becomes calm, followed by an unsettling acoustic/bass outro.

"Skincoat", right from the riff that follows the squealing feedback in the first second, quickly becomes the least difficult to listen to song on the album. However, it's still not quite an easy listen - the feedback never lets up and the screams and discordant whispers are spine-tingling in themselves. Surprisingly, the song picks up the pace around the 4 minute mark, and can even be considered headbangable (if one can headbang to this). Again at 5 minutes the song dies down, accomponied by an unsettling, gritty bass line, and Dubin's joyous whispers of "I wear...a human shield...put you fold back...crawl inside..."

"Torching Koroviev" is a short filler track, clocking in at just under 4 minutes. The listener eases themself in their chair, thinking it will be a short break from the first 22 minutes of sonic evil. But no, this short, instrumental track does nothing but disturb the listener further, with standard feedback, some guy masturbating, creepy baby sounds, and what sounds like Pyramid Head from Silent Hill dragging his knife across a concrete floor. Not disturbing, but definetely creepy and unpleasant.

"Under Rotting Sky", at a monster 18 minutes long, is the longest song on the album, and quite possibly the slowest. Despite being the longest, it has probably the least going on it, not to say that's a bad thing, not at all. The song takes about 5 minutes to move on from the swirling opening riff, before moving onto a distinctly claustrophobic sounding bass riffage, supposedly signalling that something really, really bad is about to happen. And bad something does happen - the vocals kick in, and at that time, a cold chill sweeps over the room, and they (the vocals) become even more stressed and agonized then before. The final 4 minutes are so are the most disturbing, constant whispers of "Choked, want you choked," which doesn't sound like Dubin at all, and it's either him using his normal voice or a guest vocalist.

"No Joy" wraps the album up quite perfectly. Besides "Every Goddamn Thing" from the band's last album, it's doubtlessly Khanate's most misanthropic, miserable track they have ever recorded (which is saying alot). Dubin's vocals here are at their most emotional and most ear-splitting, but there is no feedback to speak of. Just a repeating, devestating riff which echoes again and again from the 4th minute all the way to the end, like the world is ending. I guarantee you that for hours after you hear this song, that riff will be repeating in your head over and over and over, not because it's catchy (it's not), but because it's so powerful, just repeating in your head, grinding away all your positivity.

As hard as I've tried to keep this from getting a perfect score, and try as I might, I cannot find a single flaw. It really is the best drone doom album I've ever heard, and is a welcome addition to any doom fans collection. It's one of the most evil and compelling albums I've ever heard, and is definetely not for the weak hearted. Highly Reccomended.


Painful - 98%

MutantClannfear, April 9th, 2011

Here you are, curious listener. You've finally given into the hype about Khanate's self-titled release, how it's supposedly the most disturbing, fucked-up "music" ever created. Like the five reviewers below me have already confirmed, the rumors are true - these are some of the most demoralizing, degrading, emotionally unstable sounds ever created. I'm sure listening to the pained moans in a mental asylum at midnight would be more comforting. You can try to go back, but as I keep finding, listening to more than 20 seconds of one song on this album leads to me wasting almost an hour listening to the entire composition. By the time the listener has heard the grating screeches and white noise at the beginning of "Pieces of Quiet", it refuses to retract its talons until you've sat through all 56 minutes of the closest thing to hell any human being will ever experience while alive. And during that time, your standards for music will have changed. I have literally come out of the end of "No Joy" shaking uncontrollably; it's that fucked up.

This album has taken the standards for drone doom that Earth and Sunn O))) set up years earlier, stolen the doom metal riffs and the slow speed, and thrown everything else out the goddamn window. Calming, deep hums for riffs? Try constant atonal screeches that grate at the ears. No vocals? Add in some screams that, upon first spinning Khanate's s/t, sound like whining emo swoons, but soon fall into place as the man being tortured by this horrible experience. Lyrics? Psychopathic themes that are indeed simple, but the atmosphere behind them is so powerful the basic words are enough to do the job.

As atonal and anti-musical this album gets at points, it still has points that are surprisingly melodic. The first few minutes of "Pieces of Quiet" repeatedly chant in a rather conventional way: "RED TEETH GNAW, LEG...AND...SAW". "Skin Coat" actually resembles a song throughout its entire composition. There are various other examples throughout the album, but they feel like mere rest spots - small islands of refuge to rest on before you continue your journey of swimming through boiling water.

The screams, as helpless and abjected as they are, have some sort of defensive quality to them, like a cornered animal. There's something in this guy that wants to fight this madness - he's just absent for the time being. For a more comprehensible comparison as to what he sounds like, imagine Trevor Strnad from The Black Dahlia Murder, less whiny and more sinister.

"Pieces of Quiet" starts the album off, and though it's probably the weakest track on here overall, it's still great, and even better, it sums up all the elements of Khanate's music, a feat which none of the other tracks perform adequately. Chanted, all-out screams behind atonal screeches and droning Black Sabbath riffs, a calmed-down spoken word passage, and to wrap things up an entirely calm but still unnerving outro. "Skin Coat" is probably the most comfortable song to listen to in general, as it has a more logical sense of musical progression than the other tracks, reaching a climax in its demented rage before calming down to a riff much faster than what is commonplace on this album, coupled with seemingly delighted ramblings from a Hannibal Lecter-esque character. Probably the highlight of the album, if only because I can listen to it without ruining my day.

"Torching Koroviev" is pretty much the filler track of this release: the only track that sinks below nine minutes in length, it features the guitarist creating generic feedback while the bassist masturbates and the vocalist pretends to be a retarded baby. Surprisingly, it's a lot more settling than the other songs on this release, as it resembles human behavior...something absent on the rest of this release. But the band quickly recovers from the filler as they move onto the longest piece on this album, the eighteen-minute "Under Rotting Sky". The song takes six minutes just to move from its first riff and kick in the vocals, and at that point the song becomes the most burdensome and claustrophobic track, as the heavy atmosphere starts pressing in on the listener. For the last five minutes, the song just becomes completely unnerving: whispers of "choked, want you choked" seem to torment the listener like a group of retributing Furies.

You're almost out of this hell of an album, but one of the most demoralizing tracks has been saved for last. "No Joy" casts aside the screeching atonality that populates this release in favor of a massive, slowly lumbering beast of a song that seems to try to literally crush the listener. The riffs are almost entirely acoustic, and this is probably when the album reaches its highest point of hopelessness. The riff around the four-minute mark sounds like a demented taunt toward the listener: "you're a worthless fuck and you know it; end this shit now". It continues with this defaming riff for the rest of your experience. The album's over at long last, but you've changed. Colors are no longer bright and warm, they are simply pitiful cover-ups of a terrible world. The sky is a terrible being and sunlight burns. It's essentially a bad acid trip for a couple hours.

To finish my point, let it be known that in the past, I have written a legitimate suicide note while listening to this album, so trust me when I say it can turn the brightest days black and hopeless. So emotionally, this album is terrible. The happier an album makes me, the higher its score. So theoretically, this album deserves a 0%, if not lower through some manipulation of the review score system. But it's all part of the experience - an intentional mindfuck of an album, designed to crush every goal and hope you ever had in your life. So in that respect, this album is a masterpiece. Listen to this sadistic masterpiece, and watch your life fall apart around you in the course of 56 minutes.

And wipe that grin off your face. It's less painful than having it ripped away once the album starts.

Khante - S/T - 90%

cryptopsyftw, February 9th, 2011

Holy shit, where to begin...this album is like crawling into the darkest, rankest sewers of a diseased mind. You don't listen to this album, it forcibly drags you face down across shards of glass and broken hope until there is no longer even the will to whimper for mercy...just the blunt acceptance that pain is all you will ever know henceforth. It's a blackened, twisted album that is less music and more psychological torture. Somewhere, there is probably a geneva convention law forbidding the use of this album as a means of extracting information. I could go on for days about the harrowing nature of this album, and a quick glance at other reviews will probably tell you that most other people feel the same way as well. So without further ado, why is this album so horrendous to listen to?

A lot of it comes down to the way that the music communicates this incredible sense of being completely deranged. It does this incredibly well on opener "Pieces Of Quiet", the feedback leading into this barrage of discordant chords and ear-splitting squeals. Then the vocals come in. To this day, i would put money on the possibility that someone shoved a straight razor up his cockhole to produce a sound this pissed off. He screams like he's having a back, sack, and crack wax done with a belt sander. It's a genuinely terrifying screech that communicates a perfect impression of a mind which has succumbed to madness. Disjointed lyrics are a vital component of the feel of the album - they come from a first person point of view and add massively to the sense that this album comes from the blackest parts of the human soul. Their repiticious nature and dark subject matter craft atmosphere phenominally well:

"Silent tear, pinned, screamless... like a dead pile, time, seamless. Silent tear. Human Shield. Say'll give me your"

That particularly lovely exerpt is from "Skin Coat", the closest this album gets to having actual riffs in the conventional sense of the word. This album is so full of horror that it makes Jason Voorhees rock backward and forward in a dark corner, weeping softly like a schizophrenic on a bad acid trip giving head.

An interesting feature of this album is that whilst it is uncontestably a brilliant album, it's not one you enjoy, unless you have a masochistic streak in you. It is however one that will stick with you. At random intervals in a week i will suddenly get the urge to growl out one of the bizaarely catchy yet unsettling lines from this album..."We go now...into quiet" (for anyone who is interested, Pieces Of Quiet is about the narrator sawing someone into pieces because they won't stop whimpering, hence delightful lines such as "Red teeth gnaw" "Quiet more whine" and "Leg and a saw") or to speak the erratic, crazed whispers in "No Joy". One of the heaviest albums i have, it conjures up a claustrophobic, bleak atmosphere, crushing, dense, slowly grinding down the memories of every good thing that ever happened to you. Despite bands such as Whitechapel having an arguably thicker, more "meaty" guitar tone, they do not create the relentlessly harsh, hopeless, godforsaken atmosphere of "Khanate", and thus i would argue that this is the heavier album.

It's not a perfect beast though. For one thing, and this could be levelled at many drone/doom bands/albums, the drumming is functional and does it's purpose, but it can hardly be said to be the most compelling part of this album. Also, it's really not what you could call an "accessible" album. This is for the type people who musically enjoy the feeling of fingers slipping through the slits in their ribcage and wanking off their aorta for shits and giggles. For the kind of person who enjoys drone, none of this will really be that much of a flaw, but if you're the type of metalhead who tends to stick to the mainstream, this album probably isn't for you.

So, to summarise as best i can, what do we have here? we have an utterly incredible album that expertly crafts a depraved and psychotic atmosphere through atonal riffs, startling feedback, agonised vocals, disjointed lyrics, and some surprising bass work that creates a sparse feel when left to it's own devices. If you want music that makes you feel as if your soul is being consumed by a child psychopath, then by all means dive right in. This is what it feels like to be circumsised in a bath of lemon juice. It's being locked in a cold dark room with nothing but the decrepit whispers of the mad and the sick. It's gnawing the meat off your fingers, slicing your testicles off with bolt cutters, sawing your limbs in half lengthways, and giving a demented grin towards the pulp of still living gore that used to be your wife and children in the corner of a log cabin lit with a single lightbulb, swinging, a murderous pendulum, bringing the shadows to life. This is Khanate

It's only 50 minutes, how terrifying could it be? - 99%

The_Evil_Hat, May 12th, 2009

Chapter I – The Starting Line

You walk to the starting line and look out across the track. The finish line’s only fifty minutes away, how terrifying could it be?. All around you the other runners are stretching and getting ready to run. You see the referee signal for them to take their places, and you do so as well. As the referee raises the starting gun, you gasp in pain and cover your face with your hands in agony. It feels like someone stabbed a spike through your mind. Your ears are reeling from imagined screeches that make you uselessly clamp your hands over them. You didn’t hear the starting gun, but as you look to either side of you all you see is emptiness. They must’ve started running, you do so as well.

Khanate is a Drone band from the members of stuff like Sunn 0))), Burning Witch, OLD and Atomsmasher. This music is often hailed as being the most disturbing slab of doom ever created. I’m here to tell you that not only are the rumors right, they’re not extreme enough. This music is twisted in ways that most supposedly offensive or atonal music can even hope to match.

You take your first step, but something’s wrong. You’re not running, you don’t have the energy. Your body is wracked by coughs as you try and move. You force yourself to keep going, and manage a lumbering gait that matches the rhythm of the pounding inside your head.

The cornerstone of Khanate’s music is the guitar. The riffs are crushingly slow, and alternate between drawn out drones and percussive, pounding sections. There is a surprising amount of variety in the guitar work, and it’s not all as slow as you’d think, although there are parts of it that feel like they’re being played in subzero BPM. The guitar also frequently plays weird melodies, sometimes even clean ones that contrast the surrounding music beautifully. Feedback is used extensively, both as parts of the riffs and as brief interludes in many places. A good example of this would be the beginning of Pieces of Quiet.

The bass on this album is very prominent. The tone is massive and stunningly low. It is just as audible as the guitars, and leads a fairly large amount of riffs. The drumming is also well done. It is fairly simple, but helps the atmosphere of the album, as well as adding even more chaos to the more pounding sections.

The vocals are simply stunning. They’re high, tortured shrieks, but not in a black metal sense. It’s not in a tortured victim sense, or even a demonic sense. No, these sound frighteningly human, as if it’s a normal person pushed so far over the edge that their very world is utter chaos. Every word is perfectly annunciated, which is a huge plus considering how well written the lyrics are. Take, for instance, the lyrics of Skin Coat: “Silent tear, pinned, screamless/Like a dead pile, time, seamless/Silent tear/Human shield, shhhh shhh shhh/Say it, say – you’ll give me your skin…skin…skin/fold back, crawl inside, you’re pinned/like…wet…pile…hold…now…peel/I wear, a human shield, shhhh, shhh/Through the elements, stay warm/I put you on, crawl inside/human shield, shhh, shhh, shhh, skin fold back, crawl inside.” The lyrics are twisted, but fit perfectly with the music. It’s damn terrifying at times.

Chapter II – The Race

You keep walking, feeling the track against your bare sole every step. Without warning you step on something sharp and scream as the glass pierces your foot. The shards stick out through the skin and blood pours out all around them. You look back, but see no salvation in that direction and so you stagger on. Before long, the glass isn’t even that uncommon. Your feet are now messes of cuts. At first you stopped to try and pry the glass out, but by now you don’t take the time, knowing that more lies ahead. With each step you gasp in pain as it’ pushed deeper in.

Pieces of Quiet is the first track on here. There’s a bit of feedback, and then the riffing starts, and damn is it crushing. The riff is broken up every little bit for a screeching feedback interlude. This honestly hurts to hear, but as little sense as it makes, I mean that in a good way. It’s the fragmented, jagged edges of sanity. It’s disturbed, and you’re creeped out and disgusted, but you love every minute of it.

You continue to move, finally managing to pick up speed. Your feet are numb, but faint ripples of agony still work their way up your leg. Your mind is wandering as you walk, and you fall over more than once. Standing up is harder each time. Your shirt is cut in a dozen places, and stained red with your blood. Again you manage to go faster, almost running, obsessed with the thought that although you can’t see it, the finish line must lie just ahead.

Skin Coat is the albums high point when it comes to being listenable, although I wouldn’t say it’s the most atmospheric or best track. It has the most traditional riffing, and is crushingly heavy throughout. The interlude is a high point in it. The song actually picks up enough speed to make you think that perhaps it was recorded at a speed of above ten BPM, but later portions of it will quickly drive such idiocy out of your thoughts.

You can’t go on anymore. One minute you’re walking, the next your legs have given way and you’ve fallen over. You barely notice. The pounding in your head is louder, more painful. You can’t remember where you are, or why you’re there in the first place. Your mind drifts, lingering on memories that feel alien. Are these even your thoughts? It doesn’t matter, in the end. How pleasant would it be to lie here, feeling the warmth of your blood dripping down your legs and arms, and just close your eyes…

Torching Koroviev is weird. It’s a short interlude esque track that consists of guitar feedback and…the sounds of someone masturbating? It’s unpleasant in the extreme. The whole thing reeks of something that you feel you should be deeply ashamed about, but you just can’t turn away as it gets weirder and weirder. On the whole, while it’s not a bad track by any means, I’d rank it as the album’s weakest with ease, as it’s more uncomfortable than truly unsettling.

…You open your eyes and see that you’re reclining on a track strewn with shattered glass. Slowly, you recall why you’re here. You need to keep going, you realize. If you linger you’ll die. You look all around you, but you don’t see anyone. The finish line’s too far away to see, and nothing’s visible in the background. Have you really come so far? You try to stand, but your legs don’t seem to be able to bear your weight, and you merely fall back onto the pile and wince as a shard scratches a red line across your cheek. You begin to crawl away, one hideous movement after another. The glass now drags along your whole chest, and as you glance back you see that you’re leaving a bloody smear behind you, that follows behind you in a hideous, twisted path.

Under Rotting Sky is quite possibly the most desolate track on the album, and is without a doubt the doomiest. The song is crushingly slow, and large chunks of time are spent with endlessly repeated drones as the drums sit back and the vocals grow even more disturbing than they were before: “Our face changed, it’s blue/We are, choked/Me and you.”

You keep crawling. Your body falls into the hellish rhythm of the activity. For a short while you tried to avoid the perpetual glass, but by now you don’t care. Your hands are a bloody mess. Your fingers scream from the strain of pulling your useless weight, your legs trail behind, doing nothing but weighing you down, screaming with pain and contributing to the growing trail of blood that hounds you. Two of your fingernails have broken off as they got caught in bumps in the uneven, dilapidated track. The first one hurt. You didn’t even notice the second until now.

No Joy is the culmination of everything that’s been building for the past forty some odd minutes. It’s the bleakest track, without a doubt. It’s not quite as slow as the preceding one, but it’s simply chilling in its brutal intensity. The vocals reach their emotional height here, and the lyrics remain just as stunningly strong. The vocals gain more and more echo, until it’s merely them, vibrating and slowly fading away as Dublin screams, “No, joy! No, joy! NO, JOY!” again and again into utter silence, until the music comes back in with a deceptively Sabbath bass line, which is then joined by the other instruments and layered upon until it’s terrifying. “Don’t breathe! Please, don’t breathe!”

Chapter III – The Finish Line

Where are you? It hurts so much to move. One arm, and then another, and then your drag yourself forward, holding back screams as your flesh drags against the glass. One arm, and then another, and then you drag yourself forward, holding back screams as your flesh drags against the glass. One arm, and then another, and then your drag yourself forward, holding back screams as your flesh drags against the glass.

This is a complete masterpiece of Drone. People say that Extreme Doom is about creating an unsettling feeling. If that’s the case, the game’s over, Khanate’s won. This is the most twisted and disturbing album I’ve ever heard, and it’s utterly without peers in that category. This isn’t an album for every day listening. It will terrify you, and it will honestly hurt to listen to it. It’s an album for when you’re truly interested in seeing just how depraved, disgusting and jagged music can get. You will hate every minute of this album…and you will come back for more, time and time again.

And so the race ends. Not with victory, oh no. You just find that you can’t go on. Your hands are wrecks of blood and protruding glass. You don’t have the strength to crawl another step. Your head is screaming in pain. You lie, and wait, and die, all without ever seeing the finish line, merely another failure.

Khanate - Khanate - 85%

md25, April 5th, 2007

To me, doom metal is about creating as bleak an atmosphere as possible and I'd say that this throughly unpleasant disc is as dismal a sound as has ever been recorded.

That's not to say it's bad, though. Far from it. Doom is all about atmosphere and this album is the sound of intense, prolonged, painful misery. The production is as clear as glass so you can just tell the artists have put every effort into making this album the experience it is.

The overall sound is of slow, thundering, hideously detuned and almost free-timed guitar riffs, assisted by some excellent bass playing, with just enough percussion to keep the whole thing lurching forward. Not forgetting Dubin's tortured vocals - he sounds as if every axon is firing in agony and the electronic mangling further dehumanises him, as if a rusting machine were replaying his torture for entertainment.

Four of the five tracks are long, drawn-out works, with the album's mid-track "Torching Koroviev" seperating the more listenable (!) opening tracks from the perverted closers.

1) Pieces Of Quiet
Lyrics are about sawing someone to pieces as they won't shut up. Opens with an exercise in feedback before shuddering into a riff as heavy and slow as an elephant. Dubin's vocals are particularly vicious here, makes you wonder just what on Earth he does to sound like that.

2) Skin Coat
Themed around wearing someone's skin as a protective shield, this is probably the most accessible track on the album, as it's almost mid-paced at one point. The riffs are even catchy.

3) Torching Koroviev
I don't know how best to describe this. A few minutes of feedback and what sounds like someone masturbating. Distinctly unpleasant.

4) Under Rotting Sky
Almost twenty minutes long, this dismal movement has as a highlight a meandering, repeating riff that lasts forever and sounds like the end of the world. You can just picture the scene of a wasted city, with the last witness topping himself at the sight.

5) No Joy
The most hopeless track I've ever heard, and contains my favourite section: Dubin's screams of "no joy... noooo joooooooooooy" echo away to nothing just as a desolate, hopeless, futile-sounding guitar sounds collapses into the dying sections of this album.

Overall this is about as miserable a doom album as possible, and excellent because of it.

No joy to be found here! - 90%

Nocturnal_Art, March 5th, 2006

This is a hard album to review, mainly because there really isn't much to it. It's pure fucking drone doom, like you won't imagine! I'll start by saying this album sounds like something a serial killer would play down in his basement while taking apart body parts. Yeah, a demented, sick, person's soundtrack. This is not album or should I say music for everybody to enjoy. "Skin Coat" makes me think of "Silence of the lambs." Someone making a coat for themselves, made of human skin, the finest on the market. Although, the track lyrics may have nothing to do with that, the thickness of the song, brings forward the vibe. That track also has to be my favorite on here, but I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. The album starts with heavy riffs, the slowest. Now, don't expect much change throughout the song or the rest of the album in fact because there isn't much. A song sticks to what it began with. Some people would categorize this as "background music" which sounds reasonable to a certain extent. But I think this album should be enjoyed loud and also your full attention should be on it. You can easily take a walk with this playing in your headphones and not get bored. Many of you already know what O'Mally is and what he brings to the table, it's a full dish.

Vocals are thin, angry, sick, fitting this o so well. I can't think of any one that I can compare the vocals to. I heard some say Bethlehem, but I personally can't say the same. The vocals here stay well on their own without any comparisons. Here, you won't find many changes in the pattern that is used in the vocals like that of Bethlehem. But back to the actual music. The guitar like I already mention before stays thick and rough throughout the whole album, not too many changes. Of course, the songs all sound different from each other. The painfully slow riffs, but with great interludes. I say "Skin Coat" is the most interesting one when it comes to that aspect. The drums are nothing special, but are obviously needed to support the rest of the music. If you think about it how much can a drummer do with drone doom? Not much. Overall this record creates a nice sick atmosphere. This piece gets frequent play since I got it. No joy!


the_navy_blue_vicar, April 25th, 2005

I’m a sucker for big horrible doom bands like this with those ancient mystical names that I don’t understand or remember where they’re derived from. But even if this band were called Ceramic Rhino Interface, I would still fuckin love them because they’re fuckin insanely stupidly outrageously good.

I don’t want to jump aboard the O’Malley bandwagon, but fuck, this dude is good. I’m even willing to ignore the fact that he has the most annoying accent in existence because he writes riffs that sound like 8-foot vertical concrete cocks and has a guitar tone like a bus with marble windows, traveling at 8 miles an hour, on its side. This isn’t the Stephen O’Malley Show, though (no matter how funny a name that would be). James Plotkin from Atomsmasher/Phantomsmasher contributes some of the goddamn best bass playing I’ve ever heard as well as (I’m guessing) the odd bit of electronic vocal-fuckery, Tim Wyskida is fuckin incredible on drums throughout and Alan Dubin does some absolutely bananas vocals and also displays that he knows when to shut the fuck up when it’s needed.

I don’t know who produced this (O’Malley & Plotkin probably had a hand in there) but the vibe of this whole album sounds fuckin brilliant, and it’s probably this that holds the album together the most, maybe even more than the playing. It sounds like they’re playing on the hugest, massivest cliff-face on top of a totally wiped out planet, but a planet that exists entirely within a humungous shut down and emptied after-shave factory and all the lights are off and shit. In fact, the only light IN THE WHOLE WORLD is created by the band’s RIGHTEOUS ENERGY AND MUSICIANSHIP. Seriously, it sounds fuckin pretty good.

The album starts off with over a minute of ear-splitting feedback before hitting you with a one-two knockout blow of detuned guitar madness, the insanest vocals since Rod Hull fell off his roof and died, and more screaming feedback. Cheers! The riff this song is built around is absolutely fuckin ridiculous. It’s not even good. I don’t get it. But fuck, it sounds brilliant. The band then focus on some bash-one chord in unison for around five minutes while Dubin says, like some doom-rocking sub-human school teacher;


By the way, if the peeps at metal-archives think my reviews are mostly nonsense, then at least give me credit for not cutting that quote short before “BONES”, as I was STRONGLY tempted to do.

Anyway, this track grinds on for around 10 minutes before everything drops out except Plotkin’s weird, harmonic-y bass line. The band lurch back in again and stumble through a further 2 or 3 minutes of this absolutely brutal, suicidal semi-riff before another lovely burst of ear-destroying feedback announces that track 2, Skin Coat is about to get underway.

I can hear Plotikin’s influence all over this one, the bass line under the mid-section makes the part and the electronically-fucked-with vocals and outro are pure Phantomsmasher. The mid-section and the spiky, arpegiated guitar part a few minutes into this song are probably the catchiest riffs on the album, and so Khanate decide to level things up a bit but subjecting us to the just plain horrible Torching Koroviev, in which Dubin has a particularly vigorous wank next to a microphone while a “mentally challenged” child is force fed banana bunch yoghurts in the background. The “music” in this one consists of O’Malley and Plotkin sticking their instruments in front of their amps so they drone and feedback constantly.

Fortunately it’s all over (comparatively) shortly, and then we’re into the two single hugest, darkest, densest, slabs of music of all time, maybe.

Under Rotting Sky starts off with almost 5 minutes of O’Malley and Plotkin droning in unison while Wyskida patters on him drums in free-time and Dubin attempts to scream his way out of a 30 foot empty swimming pool. The drone subsides and O’Malley strums out a gorgeous chord sequence that takes about 15 chords to actually repeat. This is definitely one of the best bits on this album, it sounds like Bonehead from Oasis playing Bob Dylan’s Idiot Wind one-strum-per-chord on detuned telegraph wires.

The last track No Joy, is my absolute favourite. The riff a few minutes in is the fucking coolest riff maybe of all time, the Drums are amazing and he bass sounds like a big fuckin oak creaking open. James Plotkin has one of the woodiest, deepest but still gritty as fuck bass sounds I’ve ever heard. Maybe it’s something to do with him being a big Arabian-looking tank of a cunt, maybe its something to do with him being a fuckin genius. I dunno. Anyway, THAT RIFF. I don’t want to hype it up too much, but sweet Jesus, its fuckin great. Even when everybody drops out except O’Malley and they just add more and more echo like the walls are moving or something. The repeat it for 7 mins and it still sounds great. The band ache back in, and just repeat the riff over and over until it finally fades out, as if they just kept playing it forever and ever until the end of time. Unfortunately they had to go and bring out a pishy second album, so we know they aren’t, but anyway, a great end to a quality album.