Boomkat Product Review:
The 2nd sludge metal sacrifice by metal supergroup Khanate, ft. Stephen O’Malley (Sunn 0)))), plus O.L.D.’s James Plotkin & Alan Dubin, depicts the band more purposefully embracing the dread of negative space in the follow-up to their now-classic debut
In 2003, two years after their first crusher, Khanate delivered the dead-eyed, cold blow of ‘Things Viral’ to the heavy metal nervous system. The four tracks go longer, and slower, than its predecessor, doubling down on a sort of seat-edge anticipatory threat also found in Sunn 0)))’s adjacent sound, but here more shackled to the cadaver of metal, proper. O’Malley’s electric guitar lead and Tim Wyskida’s drums linger overhead like the guillotine of a sadist executioner gleefully looking down at its subject lining their gruds. Dubin’s exhortations are perhaps more reserved to the right moments, and more shocking in their lurch from the acres of reverberating shadow space, with the sounds often dropping to near lacunæ and leaving much to the listener’s bleak, but active, imagination.
The finely sculpted, more sinuous nature of ‘Things Viral’ sees Plotkin’s revered studio tekkerz come into play in its iced out but cavernous proprioceptions. Pregnant with dread from the near dead-rate of ‘Commuted’, thru the gnawing electronic textures that shiver the midrange and stereo peripheries on ‘Too Close Enough to Touch’, Plotkin’s touch carries over from previous experimentation with heavy metal alloys as O.L.D., via inspiration from Earth and The Melvins, to distill pure, white hot sludge that descends into torture chamber hellishness on ‘Fields’, and boils over into toxic residues on ‘Dead’.