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Khanate - "No Joy" / "Dead"

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Artist: Khanate

Album: "No Joy" / "Dead"

Label: Load

Review date: Aug. 13, 2003

Slow is as Slow does

The latest from this east coast amalgam (including members from Sunn 0))), O.L.D., Atom Smasher, Blind Idiot God, and others), this two-track EP includes a remix of "No Joy" from their first album, as well as a new song, "Dead," from their upcoming album.

This EP version of "No Joy" was remixed by bassist James Plotkin, known for his studio expertise. Slow, heavy drums, dense thick guitar and bass hits dissolve into the ether during the intervals between hits. Vocals are just occasional shouts. After several minutes of repetition that begins to get a bit boring, there's a break that leaves just the vocals screaming "No Joy" that repeats off into the distance, then the instruments come back in thicker. The guitars are suitably heavy, the rhythms perhaps a bit akin to early Swans territory, though the instrumentation is more straightforward. The vocals are perhaps the weak point, just barely comprehensible high-end screams that seem a bit too predictable. The backwards vacuum-inhaling sonic touch makes for a stylish end.

"Dead" lays down thick guitar chords and slow-building drum hits over which whispered vocals grow into throat-rending shrieks. On the whole it's too much of the same for too long – just a bit of development would make a world of difference. The change that comes about five minutes in is a few minutes overdue, but very effective, moving into a fraught atmosphere with well-placed vocal effects. Over a nine minute-plus piece, motion or depth is needed, which Khanate only pull off successfully during the middle segment of this song. The rest doesn't develop enough, nor does it offer the massive, hypnotic sort of layering of Sleep, Corrupted, and the like. The strange little ending segment, though, is unexpected, an intriguing minimalist glitch-guitar-static thing.

By Mason Jones

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