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Khost - Governance (2017) - Review

Band: Khost
Album title: Governance
Release date: 16 June 2017
Label: Cold Spring Records

01. Redacted Repressed Recalcitrant   
02. Subliminal Choroform Violation   
03. Low Oxygen Silo   
04. Cloudbank Mausoleum   
05. Demenized   
06. []   
07. Coven   
08. Depression   
09. Defraction   
10. Stockholm Syndrome   
11. Coven (Adrian Stainbruner Remix)

Some music might cause deep traumas, deep frustrations, unexpected mind trips, psychological disorders and it might even throw a curse upon the inquisitive listener. Khost, the duo from Birmingham (UK), did something like that. Beware, this is one of the sickest, most brutal and mind confusing albums you'll have a chance to listen this year, but not in terms of typical extreme/death/grind metal aggression, it has almost nothing to do with it, this is kind of a death-industrial-ambient stuff with doom metal influences. Khost features in its line-up two artistic, in my opinion troubled minds, Andy Swan (Final, Iroha) and Damian B (Carthage, Techno Animal, Deathless). Governance is already their third full-lenght, I wasn't listening to their first two and believe me that after this experience, for quite some time I won't touch anything similar.

Governance is a scream of a severely tortured victim on one side and cursing of the executioner on the other. Is mind collapsing psychotic musical stance between endurable and deadly, it's chaotic but not chaos, it's claustrophobic disorder but not total insanity, but yet there's kind of a line that connects every single piece into kind of dark entity. The sound is constantly punishing and the atmosphere is very dense, almost creating kind of a post-apocalyptic ambiance where light is a thing from the past, only disturbed creatures and huge noisy machines are still present, so please don't expect any kind of indulge from the total darkness. The two artists delved deep into the sonic world of detachment and dissonance.

The sound is throughout distorted, brutal demoralizing kind of growls devaste the listener inside this nightmarish world. Yet it's nothing strange that some things are like they are, because while this album was written in winter 2016/2017, the band members went through times of unease and sickness, including one near-death experience. So, all this lead into the creation of this brutal transmission of low resolution interspersed with broad concrete columns of distortion that loom suddenly from the dim landscape. In a way Khost did an album that is like driving at night with your spirituality asleep at the wheel. It might as well be the sound of an agonizing scream of ghosts trapped in between dimensions.

This 50 minutes long chaotic and hostile soundscape actually begins quite in an interesting way with "Redacted Repressed Recalcitrant", which is like some kind of ritualistic claustrophobic industrial session. The feeling is like entering the nightmarish grim underworld through some narrow passage where the walls scream at you with punishing voices. Huge machinery makes the whole thing even more opressive and suffocating. One of the tracks that I liked the most is the second one, "Subliminal Choroform Violation", almost perverse blend of pounding distorted beats, massive shattered drone guitars producing kind of barely perceivable melody, violent deep growls in the background and samples of ethereal female voices. The pace is often slow, punishing, it reminds a bit to something that we were used to hear on Winter's debut Into Darkness released in 1990, mixed with the most psychotic elements of Godflesh or Merzbow, and add there that typical death industrial of Brighter Death Now and Megaptera to name a few, but yet Khost did something that must be considered as quite original. On "Low Oxygen Silo", such a sonic violation of everything acceptable in music, if you listen carefully you'll even hear some oriental elements, if only those painful screams won't dim everything for you.

The more and more we go further, more everything becomes suffocating, claustrophobic, hypnotic and devastating. If you won't pay attention to several intriguing details, these frost-encrusted tones and horrifying rhythms might lead you into mental sickness, so beware, it's only for those with strong nerves. Soon the thing might become a bit too monotone if you are not concetrated enough or perhaps if you are not really a die hard of the genre. The album features a guest spoken word passages from Oxbow's Eugene Robinson and guest cello by Jo Quail on the fantastic "Defraction", which not only because of use of cello, also those reverberate distorted bass lines create a very unique atmosphere, which is then even more intensified on the very next "Stockholm Syndrome". The album closes with an oppressive remix of the track "Coven" done by Tel Aviv artist Adrian Stainburner. Governance is well produced album, adding kind of a hypnotizing depth to the whole thing. Governance is an agonizing sonic creation, it's a very difficult listen, recommended only for true fans of the style, but yet if you don't fear what I said about it, you might be able to discover some very interesting elements hidden in there.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7/10