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Khanate - Khanate CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.93 | 13 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars As much as I am a fan of the genre, drone doom can be a bit boring. Many of the bands tend to sound the same, but there are a few bands in the genre who stand out and offer something unique, and Khanate, with their debut, made themselves known to the underground metal world as a group in the standout category.

First of all, this band should be on the radar of all drone doom fans because the modern doom master, the one-and-only Stephen O'Malley is included in the lineup, offering up his ultra down-tuned rattling guitar drones that he has since become known for with his infamous duo Sunn O))). But while that is a key component in this type of music, the key ingredient for this album is Alan Dubin's horrific vocalizations -- he sounds like he is screaming in pain while driving white-hot metal stakes into his skin, as to make his grotesque poetry more brutal. Dubin's ear-piercing, demonic shrieks were hard for me to get used to, personally, but after a while he proves himself to be a major player in crafting the overall unsettling doomy vibe of this album and for the rest of Khanate's discography.

The drums are of the typical doom fare, supplying occasional bursts of cymbal crashes and bass drum thumping, following the slowest tempos imaginable, and the bass guitar playing adds another layer of down-tuned rattling that effectively deepens the abysmal droning chunks of doom laid down by O'Malley. While none of the musicianship displays virtuosity of any sort, the individual musicians all work quite well together to create an atmosphere that is absolutely horrid, and they are very successful in this regard.

Whereas the music of Sunn O))) is based primarily on long-form, never-ending drones that don't follow any obvious song structure and seem to have more in common with types of experimental ambient (that is, creating a mood and soundscape rather than something to bang your head to), Khanate have crafted their drone doom into more concise song structures. There are still no clear distinctions between verse or chorus, or even if either exist at all, but their (relatively) speedy approach to drone doom allows the listener to actually focus harder on the riffing. Compared to a lot of drone doom, this album is a lot less hypnotizing and a lot more of an grueling aural assault.

Khanate's self-titled debut is not an easy album to listen to, and even some doom fanatics might find it difficult to enjoy because of the vocals (which deterred me from enjoyment for a while), but patience it takes to understand and accept this album is well worth the effort. Liking this album and the abysmal aural torment contained within is somewhat of a masochistic experience, but people need that kind of thing every now and then. For those who enjoy the pleasure of pain, I recommend this album.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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