Khost - Buried Steel [Cold Spring Records - 2020]Khost's follow up to 2017's Governance was marred with a troubled production history, although the end result doesn't show the scars. Heavy, doom-laden, and with enough shrapnel to give you flashbacks, Buried Steel shows the duo in full force despite all the setbacks. Add to this a slew of guest appearances and Khost's latest is not one to miss.
Weighing in at a beefy fourteen tracks (thirteen plus a remix), Buried Steel definitely carries the heft of its name. Plodding and crushing forth the latest from Khost rolls out a punishing combination of industrial and doom. With heavy bass oscillating like a blazing furnace fire, the basis of Buried Steel is formed in the forge. Slow, deliberate riffs help to propel the songs along like tired workers heading into their shift to shape molten metal. Thick and distorted, these amplified strings deliver the atmosphere from which the color can be poured. On top of this, industrial stabs and purposeful drums form the rest of the skeleton before other assorted sounds warble forth as skin. In addition, a handful of guest artists lend a hand on vocals, in cluding Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire) and Eugene Robinson (Oxbow). While this helps to keep the songs fresh and interesting, interspersed throughout the album are softer tracks that add depth to the album beyond just its heavy pummeling. These culminate in the final track, "A Non Temporal Crawlspace," which showcases the softer side of Khost's repertoire. Sparse and somewhat dreary, it feels like a Mono song, before opening up into some of Khost's fury. The ending brings it back down and out, and wraps the album up nicely. (The last track is a remix)
Buried Steel is a bit more than just standard industrial doom. Khost allows the tracks to move and take on all sorts of shapes, even if they're neither industrial nor doom. The sparsensess and horns that come into play are welcome additions to the album, and really help to tie it all together. Although there were production mishaps, one wouldn't guess, as Buried Steel is a fun and engaging album.Paul Casey