Khors - _Wisdom of Centuries_
(Candlelight Records, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (8.5 out of 10)
Is it possible for metal to reach for pretty atmospherics à la Japanese widescreeners Mono without relinquishing its throat-crushing aggression? Now take five minutes to discuss amongst yourselves. (Who are we kidding? You're reading a review of a Khors record. You're clearly alone and seeking whatever sick form of meager validation is available to someone with questionable musical tastes and an Internet connection.)

Done yet? Did anyone mention Isis? Not that the Ukraine's Khors sound anything like the late progcore wizards, but there's precedent, at least. Sonically, Khors make deep, frothy love to the cinematic black metal clang 'n' buzz without letting its conjugal partner completely, um, swallow its identity. Tempos are crisp and deliberate. Agitated dragon vocals are menacing and expertly mixed into the fury that crashes around them. Blooming key drones frequently hover behind all the body-hacking axework. But the glory of _Wisdom of Centuries_ lies in the barely heard accents that bless the album's details: tasteful percussion and shimmery chimes on the two-minute intro; icy-sharp piano strikes and timid bongo patterns in "Black Forest's Flaming Eyes"; the moment in "The Last Leaves" when a beckoning / threatening warhorse cuts through the song's swirling attack; the wood block / carrion bird duet that haunts the center of the record's title crawler.

The mid-album march of "Where the Grandeur of Mountains Embraces the Space" and serenade of "Horizons Glassy" put to bed any lingering concerns that contemplative means mediocre, or that Khors were in any way lukewarm about the broader cosmic concerns running through the record. Likewise, sadist murder hymns "Only Time Will Take It Away" and "The Last Leaves" summarily execute any notion that brutality could ever fall to second class status. It's the balance struck by _Wisdom of Centuries_ that makes it brilliant, and missing this heavy music bright spot would be an absolute -- sorry, couldn't help it -- khrime.


(article published 27/11/2012)

12/22/2005 Q Kalis 6 Khors - The Flame of Eternity's Decline
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