Khashm – Asmodeus Rising

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Iron Bonehead
Distributor/label URL: http://www.ironbonehead.de/
Released: 2017
Buy Album [URL]: http://shop.ironbonehead.de/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/khashmhorde/

KhashmBand Line-up:

Kreator – All instruments
A.V. – Drums
Erier – Bass
Winterheart – Vocals

Tracklistings:

1. Black Rays of the Pentagram
2. Obsidian Keys
3. Spiritum Serpentem
4. Ancient Queen
5. Asmodeus Rising
6. Во славу смерти
7. The Hidden One

Review:

Khashm hail from Russia, and according to their info they are part of the True Ingrian Black Metal Death along with fellow Russians Ulvdalir, a band I’m familiar with and seemingly share most of their members with Khashm.

So off to an intriguing start, let’s see what’s on offer in this unusually packaged album. I say that because it is presently only available as a vinyl package consisting of a 12” amidst which sits an Emperor cover and a 7” for the final 2 tracks. Full marks for appeal before even hearing a note.

The opening two tracks of the album are a blend of black metal atmosphere with an old school death vibe, very dry in sound but with a dark occult and abyssal overtone. It’s hard to describe as it’s fundamentally fairly basic in terms of riffing and structure, but there’s some eerie melodies creeping in and out and a blend of gruff and snarled vocals. I don’t want to use the term blackened death as I don’t think it quite applies. Perhaps deathly black metal would be more suited. There are also some eastern melodies here and there.

Following this we have a 6 minute dark ambient track. On this the band live up to their name and if you can get in the right mood, you can imagine falling deep into the chasm. After this is the cover of Emperor’s ‘The Ancient Queen’. On the face of it it’s quite an odd thing to do in the middle of an album. The cover is fairly true to the “As the Shadows Rise” EP version of the song, albeit some of the melodies have been altered and simplified a touch, not sure why! A decent cover but nothing special and a great song so all very pleasing none the less.

The final track of the 12” part of this album is the 17 minute long epic title track. However this track does disappoint a little. I like it but it is basically dark ambient and noise with some guitar wails and noises. This is much in the same vein of the third track only significantly longer. I happen to quite enjoy this style but I can imagine it would put others off. It also loses the flow of the album at an important point in my opinion. However, on a personal level I really enjoy it.

Onto the final two songs, the 7” part of this album and arguably the best part too. These tracks are much more “black metal” and atmospheric with more diverse and aggressive patterns yet still raw with that deathly tone. The inclusion of Gregorian, folk and operatic style cleans further sets these two tracks apart from the rest of the album.

Given that over half of the album is dark ambient (and a cover) I’m not sure what others will make of this album but I really like it. It’s dark, cavernous and obscure and it’s a little different whilst retaining enough core elements of extreme metal to keep it rooted. I’ll certainly be checking out the back catalogue of Khashm and looking out for their future releases.

Review by Steve Blackwood
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