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Khanate - Things Viral [Southern Lord - 2003]

The tektonic doom-unit Khanate drops their second album and you can only stand in awe of the immense power that this quartet generates. As slow and destructive as drifting ice the album completely crushes everything on its way.

The quartet comes up with a version of doom that's extreme and unique. Where Steve O'Malley's other band Sunn 0))) has some cathartic and even soothing ambient quality, Khanate chokes the listener with grim emptiness. On Things Viral the sound is more open, with more room for Alan Dubin's vocal insanity and James Plotkin's sound processing. It seems (semi)-acoustic ambient project Lotus Eaters (which features Plotkin and O'Malley) left its marks on Khanate's sound. O'Malley told m[m] co-worker François that Alan Dubin actually scared the shit out of him with his performance and that doesn't surprise me at all. Dubin sounds possessed and desperate. He whispers and he screams his superb lyrics like mantra's or incantations. Plotkin distorts his vocals digitally which only makes them more terrifying. The slow tempo and the 'soundcontrol' makes every interference, every feedback, every detail part of the music. It's like a crossover of incredibly slow, almost abstract doom with glitch and microsound.

"Is there hope?" asks Dubin in Fields, the second track. If there ever was, it surely must be gone now. In about an hour Khanate drags you through a barren and desolate musical landscape, to leave you exhausted and at the end of your rope (or searching for one). No stoner grooves, no melancholic melodies. Just dark emptiness and desperation...

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

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