Almost one year ago we had the pleasure of premiering (and reviewing) All Is of No Avail, the debut EP of an enigmatic Belarusian black metal duo who call themselves Khandra (Хандра), a Russian word for “melancholy”. Though originally planned as a self-release through Bandcamp, that EP was quickly picked up by Redefining Darkness Records, which released it both digitally and on CD.
Now the same label is poised to release Khandra’s debut album, entitled There is No Division Outside Existence, on October 12th in the U.S. (with Possession Productions handling the European release), and once again we’re fortunate to bring you another Khandra premiere, a track from the album called “Decaying Into the Ascended“.
The song’s title, like the album title and the band itself, is mysterious, and perhaps seemingly embodies a contradiction: The idea of decay usually connotes a kind of descent rather than a process resulting in elevation. The band’s own brief comments about the track include references to “emptiness” and “death”. In the end, of course, we will each interpret the song based on what we hear, which inevitably is wrapped up with the experiences we’re each made of. To me, the title began to make sense as I listened.
From this writer’s perspective, there is tension and turmoil in the music, as well as electrifying ferocity and a kind of sweeping grandeur. It consists of frequently changing drum rhythms that hammer, jolt, blast, and pound, matched with riveting chords and notes that alternately rage, swirl, chime, and boil.
There’s anguish, peril, pain, and defiance in the song, and livid intensity in the scalding vocals. Even as the song seems to have reached its conclusion, it changes again with the appearance of a jabbing riff followed by a spectral, yet very heavy, reverberating melody over a massively head-moving, mid-paced rhythm. And it’s that grim and haunting refrain which carries the song to its close.
This new song is a very auspicious herald for this very powerful new album, about which we’ll have more to say in the future. Pre-order via the links below.
1. Into the Absolute Nothingness
2. Decaying into the Ascended
3. There is No Division Outside Existence
4. Progressing in Desolation