Khors - Where the Word Acquires Eternity
Ashen Dominion
Atmospheric Black Metal (and more)
8 songs (50'29")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

There are a few bands I am very proud to have introduced and followed through the years on Metal Reviews. Ukrainian Khors is one of them. Mysticism was an absolute revelation for me way back, followed by my interview with the band’s bassist Khorus. Having gone through what I hope is deserved international recognition and being on high profile labels (Osmose, Candlelight) Khors made it full circle and released their last two opuses, Beyond the Bestial EP and latest full-length Where the Word Acquires Eternity, on the Ukrainian, Kyiv (my hometown) based label Ashen Dominion. Another grey tone cover with mysterious birds (a thing of late with the band), Where the Word Acquires Eternity is a totally worthwhile entry into the distinguished Khors catalog.

Whereas Mysticism was purely atmospheric black metal, it probably defined the before & after era for Khors. Thereafter, the band stepped out to chart its own path in Ukranian extreme metal scene. Notice I don’t call it just black metal, since Khors actually transcended the genre. While still carrying blackness in their hearts, Khors was never deranged, chaotic, and actually cared a lot about their sound quality. The band has folkiness about them, but it is authentic, heartfelt and intrinsic, not trite or represented by inclusion of native instruments. Their sound became accessible, but their principles weren’t sold out. Their music remains plenty atmospheric, yet they haven’t compromised on the need to be heavy. Whether some will find it to be a complement, or whether I am even in my right to call them that, I think of Khors as of the Opeth of Ukrainian extreme metal scene, just because they are venerable veterans who continue their evolution.

While I can’t say that Where the Word Acquires Eternity is my favorite Khors album (that right is reserved in equal parts to Mysticism, Return to Abandoned and Wisdom of Centuries), I have listened to it for 2-3 weeks very much consistently and have to say it meets my expectations. It is a quality album delivered by an experienced and mature band.

Not to be saddled with a lack of intensity accusation Khors blasts it right out of the gate with urgency with Starvation. Blissforsaken is also pretty aggressive, but it balances the aggressiveness with dark brooding melodies, a Khors trademark. Starvation, on the other hand, just can’t stop in its overpowering mission, thundering drums and flowing melody. Slowing down just a touch, Starvation keeps digging deeper with its ominous edgy guitars. And so the interplay between pugnacious and pensive continues throughout the album reaching climaxes on ... and Life Shall Harvest One’s Past or Crystals of the Fall, where the narrative actually proceeds the other way, from softer to harsher. There can be tight machine gun riff on Crystals of the Fall, and it meshes with floating mystical fog emanating from the same composition. Vocals are still soulful screams in Ukrainian (I love the fact when I can understand a word or a phrase) with only a few moments of clearing (The Sea of My Soul). The synth accents remain, ranging from solar wind to ambulance siren (Blissforsaken) or something you can hear on a Dark Tranquillity album (The Mist (Let This Fog Devour a Snow)).

A new element (to me anyway) were some progressive tendencies, which took a little while to process, the non-linear drum beats and syncopated riffery on ... and Life Shall Harvest One’s Past and Beneath the Keen Edge of Time, respectively, or guitar sound in The Sea of My Soul which I honestly confused with a saxophone initially (or maybe there is a saxophone note there? Can’t tell).

More importantly, Khors continues sweeping me off my feet. Songs like Up the Ladder to a Lance, ... and Life Shall Harvest One’s Past and Crystals of the Fall just carry my mind away, while Starvation and Blissforsaken jar my attention back to reality. A fan I was, and a fan I am remaining. Where the Word Acquires Eternity took a little longer to sink in, but having sunk in, it left the mark.

Killing Songs :
Up the Ladder to a Lance, ... and Life Shall Harvest One’s Past, Crystals of the Fall, Starvation, Blissforsaken
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Khors that we have reviewed:
Khors - Beyond the Bestial reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 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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