In times when all the well-known bands throw their high-gloss polished new albums into the market simultaneously and in the same way, some of you might feel they want something different. Something more raw and to the point, true underground black metal, so to speak. You might find that in the new EP “The Downfall” from the Austrian black metal band KHARNATH.
In August they released their debut feature with this creative cover that might already tell you that they take it all seriously, and are not just fooling around a bit with music. Don’t be scared when you hear the term “underground”. Here it’s not combined with just “fast and scary”. KHARNATH consists of honest musicians who have collected experience in other bands and projects previously, knowing their instruments well. Furthermore, they have a good songwriter, which is so important for an album, you can’t deny that. The Austrians put a strong focus on the atmosphere of “The Downfall” and how to express it the best way they can.
The first track “Solitude” is a heavy, catchy, dragging midtempo-construct. You can immediately feel the love for black metal, as the listener is immediately surrounded by a sound atmosphere that feels almost cosy within the guitar wall of sound before sturdy growling puts the finishing touches to the mix. The guitar lines pull the listener through the song and far away as they might remind you of a Dissection song. A rich range of variety makes the track spicy and the whole thing is cohesive. Sometimes the growls are accompanied with reverb, while the guitars enmesh it with melodies, then again the drum sound demands your attention by heavily pushing forward before the melody lines take over again. There are no limits for the creative power here, therefore, it doesn’t become boring.
Of course, „The Downfall” is not perfect. For instance, the steep opening of the second track is confusing. It feels like a mistake in the mixing process somehow. Apart from that, there are tiny sound flaws that probably would not appear in a phat production of a major band, but then again this strengthens the feeling of a having a true underground record. Some parts of the vocals are almost spoken in a poetic way, still, it’s half growling. And this creates a diabolical mood, supported by heavy guitars, making the tracks to have a strong aura on their own.
To sum it up, black metal fans will get some good entertainment on this KHARNATH EP.
If you are willing to connive one or two bumpy moments, you can indulge in the captivating, uncompromising character of this recording.
Review by Uta Arnold
Managing Editor: Filipe Gomes