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This album: Ugly, Dismal, Safe. - 82%

almightyjoey, June 16th, 2009

This album's been getting a fair bit of bad press. I can, to be honest, understand why. Upon first listen, I don't even think I liked it. It's a pretty big step from the Self-titled album, musically. The Self-titled was described as one of the harshest Doom releases ever made, and this one takes it one step further. It's slower, and a lot more minimalistic, so I can see why people think of it as "boring". However, I really think it helps with the atmosphere. It's not supposed to be 100BPM blast-beat mania, so I can take it for what it is. I will admit, this is my least favourite Khanate release, but that doesn't make it a bad album. Not at all. It's interesting to note that in an interview with James Plotkin (Bass, Synths), he said that these types of tracks were made by visual communication. In other words, because they're so slow, and lack anything reminiscent of tempo, the band would give each other signals to play notes. Anyway, on with the review.

1) Commuted-
The album starts off on a slow note. As if that really needs saying. It takes about three minutes to get into this track. It starts with some buzzing, and sound effects, which we're left to assume is Stephen and James tuning their instruments. Then, out of the blue, it starts with Alan's trademarked tortured wail. It goes on like this until the end of the song. However, you'll notice that this isn't the typical Khanate song. It's a lot slower, and so, so much thinner in texture. It's quite unusual since Stephen's guitar tone in Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Sunn O))) and Burning Witch are usually overbearingly thick and heavy. Marvellous way to start an album, however. Red glory, indeed.

2) Fields-
Another wild card in the Khanate discography. It picks up where Commuted left off, but this time adds some vocoded vocals reminiscent of Alan's later project, Gnaw. They're terrifyingly atmospheric and really bring the song on a level of it's own. Again with the first and second track taking up almost 40 minutes of the album, it's probably safe to say that if you're not enjoying it thus far, you'll not enjoy the album.

3) Dead
Probably the most "normal" track by Khanate on the album, and also the album's shortest at 9 minutes. It starts with Alan whispering "I was not worth knowing", which reminds me a lot of 'Skin Coat' from their debut. The whispers turn into screams, and vice versa. This happens twice during the song, and manages to stay as creepy as the first time. It also has a very cool music video directed by Alan himself.

4) Too Close Enough to Touch
The final track on this album (awesomely timed at 11:11) is very interesting. It starts off with what sounds like the typical Khanate, but then gradually fades out into very creepy oscillating sounds, with Alan doing a hushed scream. The pace then quickens, getting more and more tense and desperate, and then...the album ends, leaving you staring into space for a while, before ejecting the disc.

As I said before, it's a very different Khanate album, and even if you are a hardened doom fanatic, you may find it hard to get 'into' this album. I know it took me a while. Recommended for those who like their music on the fucked up side.