Boomkat Product Review:
Stephen O’Malley (Sunn o)))) & Peter Rehberg’s 7th KTL portal is an absolute mindbender; hands-down one of their most absorbing excursions, full of hallucinatory dynamics and studio-sealed pressure.
For the first time working away from their usual soundtrack remit, ‘KTL: VII’ is a more personal affair, an expression of malevolent menace and delirium that comes as a result of being unexpectedly locked down in Berlin between March and May this year. It was recorded and mixed at MOM Paraverse Studios, Berlin with Mouse on Mars’ Andi Toma engineering, and surely amounts to some of the long-running duo’s most powerfully sculpted and direct work, implicitly channelling the claustrophobia and strange, paradoxical blend of disorientation and inertia imposed by the sorry fucking state of the world in 2020.
Leaning heavily on the biting point between avant classical and outright doom music, they dwell in a shifting sonic netherworld where tectonic slabs of metallic dissonance follow illusory lines of Shepard-Risset glissando into radioactive industrial squirms, everything perpetually slipping out of time into their vision of a never-more-impending present. Between expansive works such as the keening spectralist masterwork ‘The Director’ and the quietly sore, glowering resolve of ‘Tea With Kali’, they firm up some of the most succinct and petrifying pieces in their 15 year cycle with the petrifying buzzsaw peal of ’Silver Lining’ and a crushing, manacled piece of industrial-metal fantasia called ‘Lee’s Garlic’, before really getting into the belly of the beast with the stomach curdling acidic drone reaction ‘Frostless’.
As much as it irks us to have to write Covid-19 again, this blight has evidently pushed some artists into their best work, this one's a prime example.