July 16, 2013

Khors - Wisdom of Centuries

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Cover art by Sir Gorgoroth

When you talk about Ukrainian black metal, many incorrectly believe that Drudkh are the only band of note fitting that narrow description, but this assumption leaves out sombre, devastating sonic engine Khors. Their 2010 full-length, Return to Abandoned, was a furious record, replete with strong melodies and the kind of genuine rage that leads you to believe the this music could only be played with shaking hands and a shredded throat. In many ways, Wisdom of Centuries conjures a similar level of intensity, especially on nine-minute track "Black Forest's Flaming Eyes," which roils and shakes, tremulous one moment and stormy the next, fierce and changeable as the weather.

However, Wisdom of Centuries is a much sparer and starker record as well, in large part because it's simply much shorter. Fully half of the eight tracks are short instrumental interludes ― brief moments of reflection and meditation ― which do contribute to the atmosphere and brooding tension of the record. However, this also means that the album is really only four full tracks in total, making it feel much more like an EP ― the ideas have less time to develop and the concepts come across as oversimplified. While what is here is lovely, harsh and challenging, Wisdom of Centuries remains frustrating, in that there isn't enough of it.

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