Wednesday 1 May 2013

I Klatus - Kether (Album Review)

Album Type  : Full Length
Date Released : 25/3/2013
Label : Horse Drawn Productions

Kether, album track listing:
1. John of the Network 08:05
2. Flailtank 04:31
3. Chemtrails 02:43
4. Antediluvian Knowledge 05:26
5. Model Prisoner Interlude 03:27
6. Model Prisoner Revolt 02:53
7. Portals (Under the Lake) 10:16
8. Pillar of Boaz 03:38
9. Tree of the Sephirot 01:49
10. By the Coercion of Marduk 04:02
11. Karma and Forgivemess 04:16
12. Dark Commitment to the Ceaseless NON 05:16

Rooted in the sprawling Chicago underground metal scene with ties to multiple internationally-notable musical and artistic forms of media, a massive composition five years in the making has finally arrived. Behold Kether, the second LP by sludge/doom hybridizing collective I KLATUS.

With the dark spirit of Chicago in mind and the mysteries of the Cosmos at heart, the all-consuming devastation achieved on Kether takes the pummeling morphing of sludge/grime/doom the I KLATUS clan has previously attained to even more warped and exploratory realms through nearly an hour of continually-engaging material in the progressive tradition of Spaceboy, Gasp, Ufomammut, Rwake, Noothgrush and YOB. The band self-describes the material as “beyondcore, sludge, and shamanistic method doom.”

I KLATUSself-released the mammoth Kether in
an extremely limited 2xLP version at the end of 2012, but now takes the album to an entirely broader audience with an official digital release of the album this month. The album lies in the wake of the tragic passing of I KLATUS’ bassist Tariq Ali and features the artist’s last recordings. The three surviving members of the collective -- drummer Chris Wozniak (Lair of the Minotaur, Earthen Grave), bassist John Bomher (Yakuza, Indian) and guitarist/vocalist/visual artist Tom Denney (known for art created for Soilent Green, Kylesa, Saint Vitus, Black Cobra, Rwake, Samothrace among countless others) -- have dedicated the album to Tariq’s memory and pay thanks to his family members, stating that he was “a good dude on the scene here in Chicago, and was part of the best lineup of the many this band has seen.” Kether also features guest contributions from Leon Del Muerte (Intronaut, Murder Construct) and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest), among others

I Klatus broadcast sludgy transmissions from doomed towers in a hardcore landscape, often eschewing vocals for audio clips.  When the vocals do flood in on opening track “John of the Network”, they range from the blood encrusted throat of your worst nightmare.  Where is this band from?  Who cares, they live beneath your bed, occupying the space just outside the closed door, always peeking from around shadowy corners when you’re not looking.  They exist only to punish the innocent and torture the pure of heart.  ‘Kether’ is all the more punishing for its moments of brief respite, dispersed intermittently between crushing moment of gnashed teeth and hammering fists.
In many ways, this album is an exploration of both inter-cellular and inter-stellar space and the danger-fraught mysteries that lie within.  This band is all about atmosphere and most of it is ghastly.
Dual lead vocals occasionally share an intense spotlight while acoustic passages wrench the listener out of the acid bath to soak the listener in a soothing balm only to dunk the listener yet again.  Chants and incantations ride atop a relentless battery of noise on “Antediluvian Knowledge”.  All told, it’s an eclectic array of discordant sounds and styles.  It`s a schizophrenic display of imagined voices and synesthetic sonic hallucinations (see “Portals [under the lake]” an otherworldly highlight track).  You can take any two songs here and they won`t have the same feel or texture.
My personal favorite is the crushing heaviness of opener, “John of the Network”.  “Pillar of Boaz” is another standout tune.  In freemasonic symbology, the twin pillars of Jachin and Boaz represent power and strength, roughly meaning “He will establish strength [a stronghold / a stable home / stability]”.  These pillars are seen across the cultural landscape over and over again in western architecture.  Jachin is meant to draw power from the heavens, much like an inverted pentagram, while Boaz draws strength from the earth.  So now you know, and it’s a killer track that lives up to its title.
I’ve spilled quite a bit of electronic ink so far about what this band sounds like as a falling man grasps desperately at what can only be termed as uncategorizable.  This band plays mad hatter music, about as straight forward and knowable as a caucus race.  Genres slide by as interchangeably as the contestants in a game of musical chairs.  But to make as sweeping a generalization as one can of such a hodgepodge, ‘Kether’ leaves a heavy and abrasive impression on the listener.  I would recommend this album to the adventurous only, but to those who dig the experimental sounds, this album should come highly recommended.
Words by : Lucas Klaukien

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links and buying their merch. This record is available now on Dble vinyl here. Thanks @EarSplit