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Pan.Thy.Monium - Khaooohs CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.04 | 31 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Dan Swanö's side project PAN.THY.MONIUM may have started out as a way to unleash his avant-garde tendencies that wouldn't jive well in Edge Of Sanity but the whole thing wasn't really meant to be something that had a long shelf life and despite the band only releasing one EP and three albums in the 90s, the band sure knew how to let each album speak for itself and create a completely new sound on each. All three albums (and EP) had the same lineup which allowed the band to mature as a cohesive unit and mature they did as the second album KHAOOOHS takes things several notches higher than the debut "Dawn Of Dreams," well, at least in terms of weirdness.

The band continued to use aliases despite having revealed their identity, but let's face it. Äag aka Tom Nouga is a lot freakier than Dan Swanö (bass, keyboards, effects), Day DiSyraah the same for Dag Swanö (Dan's elder bro, lead guitarist, organist and baritone saxophone player), Mourning for Robert Ivarsson (rhythm guitarist), Winter for Benny Larsson (drummer and violinist) and Derelict for Robert Karlsson (vocals). The gang is back for round number two and takes things to a new level and succeeds in keeping the staples of their overall sound intact without repeating what came before.

First of all, there is no 21 minute behemoth track that swallows up half the album. Instead there are 11 tracks that range from 50 seconds to over 8 minutes, however the intro "I Manes Seen Dog En Skugga," I Vindens Vald," "Ekkoeece" and "Khaooohs II" are merely sound effect collages to augment the weirdness factor without much musical value. The rest of the album is very much in the death metal camp but pretty much refrains from the dirge-like doominess of "Dawn Of Dreams." The riffs exist in a much more quickened tempo with only a few slow downs into doom territory, however the compositions are a lot more avant-garde and hop, skip and jump all over the place.

What's the same: death doom riffing with the same grungy tones and stompitude although the tempos are more adrenalized this time around. The death growls are ubiquitous and still quite unintelligible. The bass slinks and slithers all around but generally follows the melodic drive. The keyboard provide the adequate atmospheric touches to keep things murky and drenched in melancholy. What's different: the composiitons are all over the place. There is less emphasis on making this scary and more focus on just making everything fun. There are bluesy rock shuffles in death metal tones, more electronic effects and overall instrumental tradeoffs that sound more like electronica than metal. Dan Swanö clearly had been sampling many styles of music to create this. Even some of the guitar solos are more like bluegrass than metal. The Mr. Bungle of death metal?

The band had moved far from typical old school death metal of the day. This album is more like a collection of bizarre amalgamations of musical genres that only uses death metal as the external packaging. The compositions themselves are quite avant-garde and have no connection to bands like Morbid Angel for example. While the music is much more experimental, there are also some things i don't like about this album. Firstly, the guitars tend to repeat the same chugga chug more often than not and the drumming is a bit lazy as there are no blastbeats. In that way, it's more like a sludge metal release but the vocal guttural growls are clearly deathened to the max. So, KHAOOOHS is an incredibly unique and creative album although it isn't what i would call perfect.

While i love most of what is on display, there are still a few factors that i always wish they would do differently but in the end this sophomore release is an excellent followup to the already experimental debut "Dawn Of Dreams." KHAOOOHS emphasizes melody above all else and the ear worm hooks are quite strong on this on although the band try to obfuscate them under the bantering din and extreme avant-garde freakery, however the bluesy guitar solos and melodic hooks are the underpinning to the whole shebang even as the weird off-kilter shenanigans proceed without restraint. It seems to me that this album eschews the progressive time signature freak outs in exchange for bizarre dynamics shifting into strange new concoctions however in the end this album is much weirder with jazzy touches interpolated in the nooks and crannies as well as post-punk industrial sensibilities lurking in every corner. Brilliant i do say.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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