Khthoniik Cerviiks are back and have their second full release in the eight track ‘Æequiizoiikum’. Their first full release ‘SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex of Dementiia)’ got the band launched with some solid critical acclaim and their split with Howls of Ebb filled the gap until this point; four years after their first album was released. The trio from Dortmund bring something quite different to the table to the realms of blackened death metal.
When I first listened to the album, I immediately thought that there was this similarity to Voivod with the guitars. I also see that I’m not alone in hearing the music this way to a degree. However, it would be unfair to class them as a black metal version of Voivod as there’s many differences which make this album and the band’s sound in general, unique. It’s hard to put classifications on it so best leave it alone in that regard as there’s so much going on.
There’s this futuristic aesthetic that the band pursues and in many ways pulls off. The intro and interestingly titled ‘KC Exhalement 4.0 (Welcome to HAL)’ sounds like a transmission is being sent out into space before the first musical track ‘Odyssey’ responds. It sounds a bit like a Mayhem riff that opens up before the format switches entirely. There’s something overtly progressive about what Khthoniik Cerviiks churn out as they implement a multitude of styles which traverse from black metal to punk and at points even some rustic black folk music albeit being heavily distorted.
‘Æequiizoiikum’ isn’t a traditional ‘heavy’ album but it does have its moments without doubt. Tracks ‘Para-Dog-Son -Demagorgon’ and ‘Kollektiing Koffiin Naiils (Délire des Négations Sequence 1.0)’ would be two examples of the heavier material the band can produce but they still have these very progressive passages where nothing is static and all music is in a constant flux. All musical components are forever spiralling into different territories so much so that it’s a wonder that they ever arrive back to a riff pattern or similar piece of rhythm. It’s ceaselessly voyaging music and truly is a sign of character for Khthoniik Cerviiks.
It’s hard to quantify but there are some excellent pieces of music and due to it being an album where each track is a journey within a journey, it makes for very intriguing listening. They’re not the heaviest in tonality but they have the components there if they ever feel the need to. It’s hard to even demand that as Khthoniik Cerviiks have much more to deliver than your straight up heavy riffs and blast beats. ‘Æequiizoiikum’ has got a little bit of everything in it so it may appeal to some but alienate others however, it’s not trying to please anyone. More like it’s trying to eradicate one’s innate comfort of flying through space on some atmospheric rock and bring a little bit of the harsh traumas back to the psyche. Æequiizoiikum’, as hard to say as it looks but a wild ride nonetheless so give it a blast.