Southern Lord

Blood-splattered handwritten pages and photographs stained and overlaid with arcane symbols, rusty knives hidden in the folds of a straitjacket. That’s Khanate. Khanate is not good times at the rock club or the soundtracked memory of a first kiss or that teenage grope. Khanate is scaring the shit out of legendary “art noise” producer Martin Bisi and getting banned for life from his studio. Khanate is the unread scrawlings in the wall-to-wall journals of the killer in Se7en. Khanate is the face you think you see in the bedroom window late at night, the 3 AM phone call with dead silence and a faint gurgle on the other end. Khanate is the vilest, slowest, sludgiest, lumbering, anti-melody, anti-song death rattle that I have ever heard. It transcends mere doom metal and reaches an even more opaque plane.

With a talent heavy lineup featuring James Plotkin, Stephen O’Malley, Tim Wyskida, and even ex-OLD vocalist Alan Dubin, the players seem to achieve some level of telepathic disharmony that is frightening. They all feed off one another, working off each other’s basest instincts to achieve arguably their finest hour, both individually and communally. Dubin, in particular, just fucking loses it, giving the performance of his life while crawling into a shell of introversion and demented paranoia that transcends any notion of a mere performer. It’s snuff spectacle at its best and worst — Dubin shrieks, groans, crawls and flays himself raw.

All the evil that songs like “Nick The Stripper” and “Dead Skin Mask” promised but failed to deliver, is manifested in spades by Khanate. The unease factor is turned up even further with Dubin shrieking and skittering through lyrics like “Quiet time… No more whine” or “Peel… Now feel” in “Skin Coat,” over and over into the depths of madness. Backed with raw stumbling guitar feedback and bowel rattling death rhythms, this is what I’ve been waiting for. This is the kind of fucked-up menace that so many bands have hopelessly tried to reach. I can think of no higher calling in life than being in a Khanate cover band.

Southern Lord Records:

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