■本作は01年に発売された1stアルバム。リズムすら無い超ヘヴィ・ドローン・サウンドは、スラッジというジャンル名も生ぬるい、徹底的に陰惨な音で全世界をダウナーに引き落とした超名作。今回はこれまで限定50枚のCD-Rでのみリリースされ、ebayなどで数百ドルで取引される幻の作品『LIVE WFMU 91.1』を全世界で唯一日本のみで追加した2枚組、オマリー自身によるデザインの超美麗紙ジャケット仕様!
They're often described as an evolution from Stephen O'Malley's earlier band Burning Witch: whereas BW was more obviously doom metal (although their two tracks on the Goatsnake/Burning Witch split album pushed the envelope pretty far, and sound more like the later band), Khanate goes way beyond the genre. Think of Swans, or Melvins' more experimental stuff. Most of all, think of Scorn, whose bass player James Plotkin provides the foundation for Khanate's rotting edifices of sound.
And there is something architectural about Khanate, a sense of coherent structure that you don't get with most doom metal. Far from just cranking out 16rpm Sabbath riffs, Khanate create a sense of space and atmosphere I haven't heard since Scorn's 'Vae Solis' (THE prototype ambient metal record). Don't get me wrong, there are spine-rattling riffs here. But there's also beautifully teased feedback, near-impressionistic percussion (via Tim Wyskida's 'hammers'), and some surprisingly clean guitar sounds. And how they manage to play in time at this speed is beyond me. It's almost telepathic.
Then there's Dubin. Personally I preferred Edgy59's vocals in Burning Witch: he could sound like a murderous psychopath one second and a frightened infant the next, and even convince you there wasn't much difference. Dubin is more aggressive and more self-assured. Superficially the two bands are similar, but where Burning Witch sounded lost and confused, Khanate sound like they've come through that to the other side -- they have suffered into truth.
If you like anything else O'Malley has been involved in, any of the bands I've mentioned so far, or Earth, Thrones etc. you will love this. Just don't listen to it on acid.
There's nothing superficially offensive about Khanate. There's no occult/satanic references and no profanity.... and yet this manages to be more frightening than every "nEkRo" black metal and submusical grindcore outfit out there. This is the kind of primordial fear and dread that only the likes of Swans and Godflesh have approached. This is PURE EVIL, the sonic equivalent of H.P. Lovecraft. So make sure that all sharp objects are put away before you proceed.
Khanate's debut consists of 5 long-playing (the album is nearly an hour in duration) slabs of audio torment--all screeching feedback drones, thick bass, SLLLOOWWW and deliberate rhythms that recall shifting tectonic plates, and Alan Dubin's voice, which sounds like it is being broadcast via short-wave radio from the lowest reaches of Hell. And the lyrics are totally depraved and sickening (recite the lyrics of Skin Coat and feel the room get colder).
While most doom has a sort of mammoth, hazy vibe (as if you were smoking a truckload of herb on an oppressively hot summer's day), this is like witnessing Black Sabbath jamming in the midst of a collapsing black hole. Totally oppressive and without a shred of remorse or a shaft of light. Very hard for me to rate (I'll settle for a four, since it does what it is intended to do EXTREMELY well) and definitely not for most tastes. However, if you love extreme music, this makes 99% of it look like child's play. Venture at your own risk. Oh, and for what it's worth, I really like the cover art for some reason.
Other drone bands, like Sunn O))), Boris, and Earth tend to sound the same. This isn't a bad thing - they just all sound the same.
Khanate, however, brings something new to the table in this particular genre. The music is still plodding, slow and monolithic, but there is an indescribable uniqueness to the music of this album that it pushes the boundaries of drone. In fact, the only thing I can say sounds even REMOTELY similar to the above bands is the 6 minute riff at the beginning of "Under Rotting Sky". (I'll get to that later.)
Now, enough with the comparisons. I'm here to discuss the music - your mileage may vary if it IS music or not - of Khanate, a band which will shape doom metal for generations to come. (By the way, Stephen O Malley, the guitarist for Sunn O))), is in this band.)
Khanate are quite possibly the most disturbing, claustrophobic band ever to hit the recording studio. That is the understatement of the century. The vocals of Alan Dublin are harsh shrieks, though not in the black metal sense. The shrieks on this album sound like a defensive animal - it is truly unnerving. The twisted lyrics of the band contribute to this aspect. The bass is loud and crunchy, much like Al Cisneros' bass on Om, only they're even heavier. The drumming does not attribute to the scariness of this band but is a key instrument and is very - dare I say it while discussing this band of all bands - entertaining to listen to.
In fact, despite the terror that emmits from this album, it's actually quite enjoyable to listen to, at least for me. Your mileage may vary whether it is entertaining or not - but for me, the riffs on this album are very emotionally deep and sometimes even catchy (oh my!)
Track 1: "Pieces of Quiet" (13:25)
This track is thirteen-and-a-half minutes long and begins with some feedbacky guitar droning. This goes on for a minute before we get some insane screams from Dublin at 1:22. There is ocassional breaks from the screaming with shrieking guitars to fill in the blanks. Dublin's screams get very psychotic a few seconds later, even bordering on death growls. More droning riffs around 2:50. What a fantastic riff at 3:05. The main riff is good too. The vocals don't come back until later, and they're a little less loud than the last ones but still violent nonetheless. Some deep bass at 10 minutes, which leads to the calming but unnerving acoustic guitar outro. SONG RATING: 4/5
Track 2: "Skincoat" (9:40)
Definetely the highlight of the album, this one starts off with more scrambling feedback before Dublin's EPIC scream at 0:17. The song is slow for the most part, but, surprisingly, there is a mid-paced part at 4 minutes which reminds me of the fourth minute of Sabbat's song "The Melody of Death Mask". The song calms down at 5 minutes with deep bass. Acoustic follows for the rest of the song, with some creepy whispers of the lyrics. There is some more heavy guitar, but not as heavy as in the beginning. Nice drumming at the end, too. Easily the most listenable and best song on the album, in my opinion. SONG RATING: 5/5
Track 3: "Torching Koroviev" (3:37)
A short interlude track, this one simply consists of guitar feedback and sounds. It's kind of calming, as it represents life, but still unnerving nonetheless. SONG RATING: 3/5
Track 4: "Under Rotting Sky" (18:18)
The opus of the album, this monolithic behemoth plods along like an elephant, crushing anything in it's path. It begins with feedback and a droning riff which repeats itself for 6 minutes before Dublin's screams come in and the song pick up. Dublin's voice on this track is even more psychotic than on the previous three tracks. It's the slowest song on the album (which is saying something as all of them are slow) and one of the heaviest (once again, saying something). The whispers of the final five minutes seem to stab and mock the listener before the music drops out of existence. The song also has a very "apocalyptic" feel to it - even more so than the other songs on the album. SONG RATING: 4/5
Track 5: "No Joy" (11:27)
By far the most wretched, disturbing song I've ever heard, "No Joy" couldn't be a better ending to an album. It begins with whispering and almost tribal drumming. The music is quiet and bleak while Dublin screams like a mental patient, slowly and heavily. The song is entirely built by acoustic guitars, which only adds to the horror level. Dublin's voice in this song is something else - it doesn't sound like him on other songs, but at the same time, it does, like an even more insane version of them. Speaking of acoustic guitars, the acoustic riff at 4:00 is bleak, hopeless, and seems to be a mock toward the listener. Just listen to it - it sounds demented and evil, like what a serial killer would snark to their victims before killing them. I can't help but think of the comic "Johnny The Homicidal Maniac" while listening to this song. Topped by hopeless lyrics, the mocking riff continues to circle the listener like a hawk before the song fades out of existence. This track is truly a riveting monstrosity. Another riff around 4 minutes reminds me of Sunn O)))'s song "It Took the Night to Believe". SONG RATING: 5/5
Finally, the album is over. I can almost guarantee you these grueling 56 minutes will have changed your perspective on music, if only slightly. Some people may just consider it mindless noise - but I consider it music, sounds from the deepest pits of hell sent solely to wreak havoc upon the world. Truly an amazing album.
However, I do not give this 5 stars as I do not want to mislead some curious listeners into buying this album. I'd reccommend it, but not to the easily disturbed or faint hearted. If you enjoy slow monsters of metal like this one with little melody, this album is essential.