Khors - Beyond the Bestial
Ashen Dominion
Atmospheric Post-Black
6 songs (34'43")
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

My admiration for fellow Ukrainians Khors never waned, and I am very proud to have brought to these pages four reviews of their albums plus an interview with bass player Khorus, but a few years since Night Falls onto the Fronts of Ours left me questioning a bit as to where the band will go next. Jurgis appearance in Nocturnal Mortum (?) and Helg releasing an excellent album with his own band GreyAblaze (reviewed on these pages and strongly recommended) may have hit a pause button on Khors. I couldn’t be sure but could have asked my inside contact at Svarga Music who is in some ways connected to the band. But then EP Beyond the Bestial hit my inbox and I am relieved Khors continues its existence.

When some of my American friends, not initiated in Ukrainian black metal or recent political situation there, ask me what that country and this “wave of Ukrainian black metal” is all about, I play Only Time Will Take it Away from Wisdom of Centuries and explain that this song is an embodiment of what feeling pain for Ukraine sounds like. Beyond the Bestial doesn’t quite go to the heaviness of Wisdom of Centuries, but instead reaches further back in Khors history to the glorious days of Mysticism. The EP does not have all new compositions, Winterfall and In the Cold Embrace of Mist, coming specifically from Mysticism, but the connection between Beyond the Bestial and that album is not only due to the re-releases, but in style and spirit as well.

The title track and Through the Realm of Unborn Stars on the EP are solar flights beyond the boundaries of atmospheric post-black metal. This is progressive music in more ways than one. Strong riffs and voluminous drums buttress dreamy cosmic trips alongside shoegazing melodies without outright folk hints. The keyboards and symphonic arrangements are more prominent on Beyond the Bestial than before, but symphonic in the case of Khors is personal and inward rather than pompous and showoff. Keyboards touches penetrate through the fabric and feel as cold rain droplets on the title track, which, strangely, demonstrates new pleasure moans vocal stylings, yet regular throaty Jurgis makes an appearance as well (Through the Realm of Unborn Stars). The title track even has a totally unexpected violin moment, something you wouldn’t think Khors would ever do, but having heard it I want more of the violin, something Thunderkraft does as well. Instrumental Frigid Obscurity of Soul is more bass heavy and gloomier, slower, but never static, and also giving glimmers of hope, the same effect Khors music always has on me. Yes, black, deathly, pummeling or wistful, Khors always has me grow wings (I have said it before and will repeat now), and Beyond the Bestial is no different.

The old songs re-releases feel more three-dimensional and richer in production than they did before, and the closer Red Mirrors totally surprises in its remake with electroacoustic guitar, piano/keyboards and another moment of complex symphonic layering. I just wish the video reached out to my company for more realistic blood simulant than low viscosity painted water.

If you never heard Khors, and prefer to start with less ripping, more post-black side of the band Beyond the Bestial is certainly a reference. For old fans, the evolution is there, not surprising, and very enjoyable.

Killing Songs :
New tracks are glorious, old tracks are solid
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Khors that we have reviewed:
Khors - Where the Word Acquires Eternity reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Khors - Night Falls onto the Fronts of Ours reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
Khors - Wisdom of Centuries reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Khors - Return to Abandoned reviewed by Alex and quoted 94 / 100
Khors - Mysticism reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
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