(In this post Andy Synn reviews the just-released debut album on Season of Mist by Norway’s Khonsu.)
There’s something incredibly exotic, even erotic, about the darker side of music.
Whether you believe that music (and art) creates some sort of spiritual or emotional connection, or whether you see it merely as a stimulus for strange, internal chemical reactions, the fact remains that ever since Sabbath struck their first doom-laden chord there has been an inherent darkness to our music that touches something within us far different from what the rest of the world experiences.
The hybrid black metal sound of Khonsu absolutely revels in this darkness, wrapping its post-industrial, post-apocalyptic (but never post-metal) sound in a shroud of shade and shadow, while taking the audacious (and risky) step of using the keyboards as a leading instrument, utilising this expanded sonic palette to great effect to realise both extroverted concepts and introverted neuroses in equal measure.
Always a dangerous choice, in the wrong hands this often results in nothing but pompous farce or overblown, soulless theatrics. But Anomalia bucks this trend – instead of simply filling out the sound in a passive fashion, the ever-present synth lines and haunting keyboard refrains actively control and direct the direction of the music and have been given the necessary time and care that they need to realise their potential. Rather than being treated as an afterthought, a mere parlor trick or cynical attempt to expand the sound, the synth work here is an integral part of each song’s foundation, granting each one a thematic breadth and depth outside and beyond the confines of black metal’s traditionally guitar-based aesthetic.
Progressive in intent and ambition, the structures of all the songs, which you may have gathered are all of a somewhat significant length, are complex without being convoluted, intelligent without being impenetrable, and though each track is a singular contained chapter, they all contribute, individually and as a collective, to the overall direction of the album.
This is pure Blade Runner black metal, born and raised in Perdition City under the hazy glare of neon lights, where the blood of the dragon meets the sprawling sound of tomorrow. Continue reading »