Okay, pop adepts and garden variety metalheads, get out whilst you still can! This is not your territory. Everybody else come in and enjoy.
This is the dreadful realm of Extreme Metal, the disturbed haunts of dissonance. Dreary and ice-cold lands that bands like Dodecahedron – Plato’s fifth solid – so avidly occupy.
But this time it’s more planets and weird alien beings, methinks, judging by the bizarre and colorful album cover on display. Khôra‘s debut full-length Timaeus steps right into those deranged soundscapes that are often abused by noisy terrors devoid of sense.
But not for this record. They’re truly deep files, the folks from this band. The record bases itself on a loose theme of Plato’s dialogues, hence the name Timaeus. Which is a hefty subject matter to take for any piece of metal. So – indeed – ’tis not about modern alien lore, but more about a philosopher’s view of the world. And about the creation of the universe, nothing less. A pretty cosmic subject to tackle, by Loki.
Khôra call their style Extreme Metal. And – in truth – their tune sounds like something a deranged Lucassen with a crazily tilted Ayeron might have concocted. In other words, the prog part is astonishingly prevalent throughout this highly complex record.
Yet sometimes the progressive elements almost drown in this highly dissonant blackened Post Metal and Post Black Metal. One that rubs shoulders with incursions into Death Metal and subtle symphonics to round things up. This truly is a complex record, yet artfully arranged with a mix and master that hold their water.
Timaeus only ventures shortly into those typical intros that Fantasy Metal usually occupies. And we’re mighty glad about that. But then Noceo happens and you slowly become aware of your pain. A heavy dose of Extreme Metal that hits you square in the face. Icy, sharp-toothed, steely shards that hurtle towards you, driven by this weird, shouted chanting that passes for growls.
But I really got a kick out of those keys that probably should pass for a harp, very discreetly played in the background. So cheesily baroque I almost laughed, complete with the voice of the master of the universe that surges to the surface about 2/3 down this starry road. A little foray into places Power Metal usually occupies, eh?
Then you get l’Annihilateur and its clear voice chorus that stopped me cold. Still truly down dissonance road, this one boasts a flavor of new school Extreme Metal, if there ever was one.
And these three first tracks already describe the quintessence of Timaeus pretty well. Everything else wraps itself neatly around that same theme of ever-changing styles and flavors.
But does that mean the record gets boring? Nope.
Tracks like De Vetus at Novum really power down that delicious Black Metal road with a disturbing intensity. Until they disintegrate to such a point that the multifaceted Todtgelichter sound like weak tea.
Towards mid-point, a feeling of doom slowly creeps in, though. Like that cold fog that draws in from the coast. And only Loki will know what tentacled horrors hide in its midst.
This starts by the time Roe Too Noo (Flow Of The Mind) floats by, the track sounding like some bizarrely distorted version from hell of My Silent Wake. You’ll find yourself at the peak of all those assembled horrors once The Purge strikes. One of the wildest forays into that dreary soundscape Timaeus depicts.
Yet, all that abundant and disturbing dissonance notwithstanding, the record sports an astonishing coherence. I credit this to the theme Khôra chose. But – boy – Plato must have been the master of terrifying tales. An utterly creepy version of usually benign philosophy, right?
But it’s time to put a wrapper around all those cosmic shenanigans.
Think outside of the proverbial box, the record constantly screams at you. Throw all notions of that home-grown metal lore overboard and embrace the underground. Get rid of all those things you thought you knew about metal.
Once you take this giant leap over that ghastly void, you are ready to take on Timaeus. Because this is yet another of those visceral records that wafted our way lately. One without any notion of those strange metal rulez. And that’s a good thing, by the way.
Khôra, the band around Oleg I., brutally shove an eerily ethereal piece of Extreme Metal at you with an almost demonic force. A multi-dimensional tasty and red-hot chunk of alloy at a level of quality and exquisite complexity not easily found in the metal multiverse these days.
This truly is real, harshly brutal, steely metal for once. And surely none of those damned pseudo-metal commercials we had the bad luck to come across lately.
So, consume without moderation if abundant raw dissonance is your trade, cosmic traveler. But make sure you hold on to something. It’s a pretty rough ride nonetheless.
Get dat tune: