Black metal has taken a lot of twists and turns over the last twenty years. (Hard to believe that the great second wave of black metal is over twenty years old now.) From avant garde minimalism to crust and punk influences, black metal has fragmented into a veritable maze of styles and sounds. That’s a good thing. Stagnation is never the answer in any musical genre. While finding those rare bands that still blast out lo-fi black metal the way the old school masters once did is a devilish treat, it’s the bands that are able to successfully mix both the traditional and the experimental that have risen to the top of the genre.
Norway’s Khold has always been one of those bands. Their brand of groove-laden black metal has always had an alluring power to it, pulling from a myriad of influences to create a sound that few bands today replicate in any reasonable format. With the impending release of their sixth full-length album (and first in six years), Til Endes, Khold are about to deliver one of their finest albums to date.
The first thing that stands out on this album is the riffs, and there are a ton of them to go around. Whether it is album opener, “Myr” or a track like “Det Dunkle Dyp,” Khold has gone out of their way to lay down some of the nastiest and tastiest riffs this side of New Orleans. Meanwhile tracks like “Dommens Arme” carry with them an old school thrash aesthetic to them. That guitar solo alone on the aforementioned track is a thing of thrashing beauty. Khold are not afraid to dip their toes into whatever musical genres they need to pull off their grim and grimy version of black metal. This is a band that emerged from their six-year sabbatical with one foot firmly planted in the future while stretching back to shake hands with the past.
Writing any genre of metal at ‘mid-tempo’ tracks into dangerous waters for a lot of bands because it exposes their inability to craft music that can successfully rely on such things as strong melody. That’s not to say bands that play a thousand miles per hour couldn’t slow it down and still be successful songwriters but for a band like Khold the emphasis comes off of the speed of each song and is placed more squarely on the song structures themselves. This is a test they pass with flying colors. Never does this album become dull or lethargic. Khold have created an album full of tracks that are the sonic equivalent of the old cat and mouse routine – claws out and smacking you around a bit before they go in for the kill each and every time.
Til Endes is out in the States via Peaceville Records on September 30. You can check out the video for the title track over at the Terrorizer website.