Khlyst : Chaos Is My Name

Here is the promised Khlyst review:

Khlyst : Chaos Is My Name

This album is unlike anything you have ever heard before.

Trust me on this one.

To begin, it is the collaborative effort of James Plokin (of extreme-doom metal band Khanate, recently disbanded) and Runhild Gammelsæter (the vocalist for the pre-Sunn O))) band Thorr’s Hammer). Basically, the album consists of two elements. One are songs where Plotkin lays down a bed of improvisational guitar and drumming to what can only be described hellish snarls, screaming, screetching, and wailing. In fact, I had to concentrate closely and peruse the lyric sheet to realize that she was actually speaking Norwegian phrases, rather than just randomly howling and muttering. The second element are the two songs which are much more subtle in their approach, as lonely percussive elements intermingle with themselves as gongs reverberate throughout the piece. Throughout the songs, Plotkin (an accomplished producer) adds various electronic elements, ranging from droning low-frequency ambience to a veritable grab bag of vocal manipulations, whether they simply create an echoing reverberation or distort them to bizarre electronic animal growls and snarls.

I only have a few quibbles about this album. My main concern is that, despite it’s refreshing aura about it, it is far too short, clocking in at only 35 minutes. While some of the songs are quite developed and intricate, several of the more improvisational “chapters” (as they are referred to in the album insert) seem somewhat undernourished, as it were. Perhaps this is a good thing, as the vocals can be rather overwhelming at times. Also unfortunate is the fact that there is no translation to the Norweigan lyrics (which are included), but rest assured, with a delivery this intense and volatile, you can safetly bet that they are not pleasant topics and concepts being discussed. It also gives me the chance to use such phrases as: “She doesn’t just sing the vocals, it is more like she tears them out of her throat before throwing them at you”.

Obviously, this album is an acquired taste. At first, I was relatively disappointed. However, having listened to the album a few more times, it begins to grow on me (though I still bemoan the brevity of the album).

Hopefully this pairing will continue to grow and develop (much like the Khanate project did before it’s untimely end), because personally I would like to see extended developments and varations of this theme.

~ by John Lithium on November 7, 2006.

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