Khold - Krek
Tabu Recordings
Stoner Black Metal
10 songs (34'00")
Release year: 2005
Khold, Tabu Recordings
Reviewed by Alex

One prominent Soviet theatre director once said: “Succinctness is a sister of talent”. The same could probably be said about simplicity. Nothing to take away from layered and symphonic structures conveying one’s feelings, but if such feelings can be expressed without resorting to complexity, the artist deserves all kinds of credit. Music is no less art than theatre, so the saying applies.

Norwegians Khold have been at it for four albums now, trying to prove that black metal can be both groovy and atmospheric at the same time, that bass guitar is not a foreign instrument in the genre, and that blastbeat speed is not at all necessary. Simple and repetitive, Khold certainly has its own personality and shtick making it different from many in black metal crowd. Krek is further evidence, down to the cover art featuring vocalist/guitarist Gard again, that Khold will not deviate from its original ways.

If it was possible to marry stoner rock and black metal, Khold had done it. Faster songs on Krek, like title track or Innestengt I Eikekiste, radiate strong pulsating groove, originating from playing seemingly primitive repetitive riffs. Khold do not play many different riffs or leads, but what they play they play convincingly, so it leaves a mark. You spin Krek’s title song several times and I challenge your brain to get rid of the main riff. Nary a blastbeat, and if that technique makes an appearance it isn’t long and it isn’t fast (Byrde), the album tends to proceed at mid to slower pace dredging the listener further and further through the realms of raw, weird and sludgy rock’n’roll. From rocking and groovy to downright drone (Midtvinterblot, Varde), the feeling on Krek is of the cold dirt thrown right inside your soul. It is intense, ugly and inside out perverse.

Without precise drumming and very audible slapping bass (Krek, Oskorei) it would be impossible to achieve the groove, yet guitars are fuzzy and that brings the atmosphere as in a funeral stretch of Lysets Flukt. The strong guitar tone reverberates, climbs up and crashes down in Innestengt I Eikekiste, or plays one string genius riff and tortured melody in the closer Silur Wie.

Writing and singing the lyrics in the native Norwegian tongue may not be very original in black metal, but for Khold it seems natural and adds to the mystique. If at all, Krek reminded me a lot of German act In Extremo, combining folk melodies and simplistic riffs, but even more so in the way Gard is spewing the words out, no high pitch or growl, but rough shapely unknown language syllables spoken with an irritated throat.

While I completely catch the drift of Khold’s music I can’t label myself a die-hard fan at this point. Those tunes on Krek that possess an obvious melody, like title track, Byrde and Silur Wie, are can’t miss, while the rest tend to drag. Interestingly, listened to one at a time they make a great impression on me, but altogether as an album I feel that something is missing, and my amateur suggestion to make Krek killer would have been to add a little more melody. This is a strong effort nonetheless, and those on board with Khold from earlier on would love Krek.

Killing Songs :
Krek, Innestengt I Eikekiste, Byrde, Silur Wie
Alex quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Khold that we have reviewed:
Khold - Til Endes reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Khold - Mørke Gravers Kammer reviewed by Tony and quoted 83 / 100
Khold - Hundre Ar Gammal reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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