Friday, March 13, 2009

Khors - Mysticism (Paragon Records, 2008)

Doesn't that giant eye on the cover of Mysticism make you want to poke it? Youch! I sort of want to poke Khors's session keyboardist Saturious, too, and not in the "friendly" or "euphemism for sex" or "pointless Facebook utility" way. More in the "stop pretending you're in Duran Duran" way. Seriously, some of the horrid synth sounds deployed on the Ukrainian pagan metal band's third album could have soundtracked the love scene in Top Gun. Subtract the heavy guitar parts from "Red Mirrors" and the song could be marketed to goths as bathtub music. 

Those overbearing atmospherics detract from what would otherwise be a palatable, if unremarkable, pagan progressive black metal album. Helg's chest-beating growls and the band's clear, sonorous chords remind of mid-period Katatonia or Daylight Dies if they dropped the depression and interesting chord progressions. Khors layer simple, clear chords with acoustic picking and electric leads -- a big textured sound, perhaps an evocation of the forests of myth that Helg sings about ("Ancient forest falls asleep / And the wolves, they gently weep/ Doleful songs to lonely moon/ And the winter’s coming soon"). The lack of dissonance or variation in Khors's downcast tone means that the album feels less compelling as it goes on. A search for danger, risk, even memorable songwriting comes up short, with just that sumptuous atmosphere carrying over after Mysticism rolls through the forest. 

1 comment:

dschalek said...

I also had a somewhat lukewarm response to this release, but the title track is awesome.