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Although the mighty Khanate are no more, bassist James Plotkin has been keeping plenty busy. Southern Lord aficionados are most likely familiar with Runhild Gammelsæter’s work in Thorr’s Hammer and Sunn0))). With Khlyst, this unholy pairing mix Painkiller, Lightning Bolt, Swans, and nightmarish ambiance into a nicely self-contained, menacing slab of ambient demise.
The eight tracks on Chaos Is My Name alternate between seething, effect-soaked distorted bass, then freeform ambient crawl. Track “V” is the most John Zorn of the bunch, soaking Gammelsæter’s witch screaming with mass amounts of reverb while the lower toms pound away with ritualistic aplomb. Plotkin’s instruments stab through like radio interference in a battle zone.
Gammelsæter’s shrill vokills are the most disquieting feature of Khlyst. Although ye olde Thorr’s Hammer grew stale after a few turns, the horrid sounds of wrath she’s letting loose here are superb. She eats Baba Yaga for BRUNCH.
According to the press sheet that came with this pokey little puppy, Khlyst “sound like you’re being beat with a wet mattress while someone screams in your ear.” I concur. While devoid of groove or approachability, this release is listworthy and if indicative of the new ground Hydra Head Records is exploring, then consent is hereby given.
Jarboe, Diamanda, and Runhild. Get with the sickness. (8/10)
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