Khazad-Dum – Garmadh

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Wrath of the Tyrant Records
Distributor/label URL: https://www.wrathoftyrants.com
Released: 2017
Buy Album [URL]: https://wrathofthetyrant.bandcamp.com/album/khazad-d-m-garmadh
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Khazad-D%C3%BBm-899304760127705/

Band line-up:

Gothmog – Bass
Noatún – Guitars, Vocals
Enrico Baggio – Drums

Tracklistings:

1. Intro
2. Rise of the Immortals
3. Draut Gaddur
4. Isildur’s Bane
5. The Ban of Wisdom
6. Proud & Feeble Men
7. Rage in the Night
8. Dark Skies of Black Times

Review:

Before starting the review I’m already interested and intrigued by Khazad-Dum’s latest offering. Claiming inspiration from the 90’s Austrian scene, e.g. Abigor and Summoning, this falls into one of my favourite categories of black metal ever made. Even the cover art and lyrical themes scream Summoning.

So, I’m not expecting the music to be anything new, but a nod to those creators of stunning keyboard and melody based black metal and nostalgic vibes should be pleasing enough. And I’m not wrong for the most part. The intro is a suitably Summoning inspired synth intro. Beats later occur but I think they spoil the atmosphere a bit and maybe should be been done using timpani sounds or something similar. Anyway, a good start.

When ‘Rise of the Immortals’ kicks in I’m surprised by how aggressive this is, but it’s a good thing. Fast and fuzzy black metal with clean vocals that remind me of earlier Enslaved. Imperfectly sung and then balanced with a more typical mid-range harsh vocal. In creeps some over the top bass lines and melodious solos.

‘Draut Gaddur’ follows and is an acoustic interlude. I really like this piece. It throws the album off kilter a little bit. The lead line is surprisingly bluesy and in essence quite avant-garde. Following this ‘Isildur’s Bane’ is much more akin to their self-confessed Abigor influences, shifting from fast black metal to acoustic interludes. Only lacking the atmospherics of the synths and a colder sound. Short, melodic and sweet.

The album continues in much the same fashion. Strong fast to mid paced melodious black metal with flourishes of synths and acoustics. Sporadic clean vocals rear amidst the mid rasps and screams. There’s a definite pagan feeling to the melodies and riffs akin to earlier albums by Enslaved, Satyricon, Enthroned, Viking era Bathory and some of the more melodic Burzum tracks.

A notable mention goes to the track ‘Proud & Feeble Men’ which is the best combination of all of these elements, with great melodies, great acoustics and definitely my favourite track on the album.

The album seems to end with a bonus track which is quite different from the rest of the album and almost sounds like a cover, but I don’t think it is. It’s a raw and thrashy number which as a bonus track sits fine at the end.

There’s an overriding medieval vibe throughout and the 90’s nostalgia is strong here indeed and only marred slightly by the drums sound. A drummer is credited here but I suspect these are either programmed, or performed on an e-kit and heavily altered. It doesn’t detract too much from the overall result and this is still a really good album, but I felt it worth noting.

Definitely recommended for fans of the 90’s melodic black metal scene. Khazad-Dum are a band I will keep my eye on and will probably be picking up this CD soon!

Review by Steve Blackwood
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