Khaos Aeon - _Exitus_
(Fog of the Apocalypse, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
Bleak and venomous, Khaos Aeon introduce you to _Exitus_, a relentlessly cavernous, esoterically-inclined, corrosive piece of black metal art. Relatively unknown, Khaos Aeon, an obscure German duo, have totally taken this reviewer by surprise with this magnificently executed, forty-seven minutes long, fetid ride through the darkest realms of creation and its metaphysical aspects, be whatever they might.

_Exitus_ is militant-sounding, slow-played and viciously provocative, brutal, punishing, relentless and almost erotically morbid slab of black metal. The album is infused with dark matters governing its enigmatic power and undefinable allure, rendering it almost operatic, or classically-sounding in the most peculiar manner.

Although _Exitus_ is not melodic by nature -- however, the melodies are there alright -- the sum of all, manifested through the songwriting finesse being translated to the most violently-sounding yet coherent and beautiful work of art, creates an undeniable dense atmosphere of almost angelic (or demonic, or both) proportions.

_Exitus_ relies heavily on its sharp-sounding, chunky guitars, and the relentless, erratic riff-fest they produce; a wave upon a wave of punishing, yet harmonious electric bliss. Khaos Aeon play guitar -- they really play it -- not adhering to the wall of sound technique blurring the riffs; on the contrary, almost every string is heard, resonating with black chaos. The basic drumming and the gritty-sounding, atypically black/death metal sounding screamer close the circle with their rhythmic, pulsating and hypnotizing performance, lending the music its militaristic, almost fascist, character.

_Exitus_ belongs to the slow(er) black metal school; from the slow to (rarely) mid-paced to the (even rarer) fast-paced rhythms, the relatively tame velocity of the songs enhances and deepens the wretched atmosphere; it only makes the songs shine ever more, allowing all that exploding talent, energy and raw ambiance to ooze and taint the listener even further.

The extensive lyric sheets (four A4 pages crowded with texts) are printed with intelligent texts delving into demonology, reverse-kabbalah and anti-creation matters; coupled with their sonic equivalent, the words are infused with meaningful apprehension, rendering the music even more sinister, and vice versa.

Khaos Aeon display a myriad array of influences, all sticking together and blending uniformly into a strange brew of black/death/thrash metal of the esoteric, transcendental kind, yet not by minute, infinitesimal nuances, but rather by a clear, hard-hitting, heavy, wild-eyed, lunatic energy; razor-sharp and convincing, chaotic yet orderly.

Swedish black metal bands from the '90s get an honorary mentioning through Khaos Aeon's musical manifesto which is _Exitus_ (A Canorous Quintet's excellent _Silence of the World Beyond_ comes to mind, as well as Dissection, whose "Frozen" track, from their 1993 _The Somberlain_ album, is covered on _Exitus_); so is _Gothic_ era Paradise Lost, what with the strange and unique guitar effect appearing here and there during the short guitar solos, casting an almost psychedelic shadow upon the music; so are bands along the lines of Dark Tribe, with their inherent tamed lunacy.

But make no mistakes: _Exitus_ is a unique album, owning a very distinctive sound that borrows from the darkest elements of both black and death metal. Yet, it is darker than most black metal albums out there and heavier than most death metal; it is definitely more engaging, profound and mature than most albums playing both sub-genres, with one hand tied behind the back.

_Exitus_ is among the very best albums of 2011 for sure, and another reminder to this reviewer why he loves black metal so much. Albums such as this -- music that engulfs with its unadulterated mysticism and unbridled enthusiasm and grandeur -- make him return for more, never to be satiated by this corrosive, captivating art.


(article published 15/5/2011)

3/2/2013 C Drishner 9 Khaos Aeon - Koenigreich
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