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Kess'Khtak - Unwritten Rules Prevail

Unwritten Rules Prevail
by Jon Conant at 19 June 2018, 4:57 PM

KESS’KHTAK, deathcore out of Switzerland, are back with their latest EP effort, “Unwritten Rules Prevail”. Having released two full lengths since forming in 2008, and a handful of EPS/split EPs, KESS’KHTAK is looking to make that next big step. Billed as deathcore, their sound is a furious, fast paced, high octane blend of metal that doesn’t seem suited to be tied down to one genre. The sound is fairly unique to them, for better or for worse.

Track 1 “Born With A Curse” wastes no time diving right into the sound of the album. We’re immediately greeted with pounding and precise drums backing up a distinctly core sound. It’s technical, it’s heavy, and at times a little all over the place. The instrumental work is good from a performance perspective, but the production leaves something to be desired. The recording quality is great, but the individual parts all drown each other out in one big mesh of sound. I would love to hear a bit more layering and finesse with how they lead the parts to work together. Highly rhythmic and technical deathcore benefits more from a bassy and blended sound with clearly heard rhythm guitar parts, you don’t want any breakdowns getting lost in the mix. The feeling they’ve created here is something more suited for black metal, or maybe even thrash, but as deathcore it falls a bit flat.

But, the quality of the songwriting balances out any faults in production. The riffs are strong, and everything is ultimately tied together fairly well by OUTSTANDING vocal performances from Florian Durand and Mathieu Mangola. The dual attack on vocals creates a very full and thick sound, it’s brutal and crisp, and is one of the strongest parts of the band’s sound.

None of the tracks overstay their welcome, with the lone exception of closer “Nihilism 2.0”, all the songs are in the 2:00 range. Tracks 1-3 all follow a similar pattern of fast paced and technical rhythm work without much groove and chunk, save the occasional rhythm guitar line. There’s not a whole lot of variety unfortunately, and the sound does grow stale quick.

Fortunately, the middle and back half of the album feature a bit more variety and better songwriting. Track 4 “Roaches and Rats” had an excellent groove to it, with a slightly slowed down pace, and provided an excellent transition into the back half of the album. It’s likely my favorite song on the album, and we even get some fun experimenting with turntables, which was unexpected, but worked out well. It’s one of the heavier and least thrashy tracks, distinctly standing apart from the rest of the EP.

Closer “Nihilism 2.0” is my other favorite song on the album. It shows more variety like we hear in “Roaches and Rats”, and it has a greater sense of ebb and flow, switching around back and forth between styles as opposed to pounding through one sound for the entire duration of the track. It’s longer coming in at 6:44, however after approximately 4:00 it fades out to silence which lasts all the way until the end, where we hear a brief audio clip of someone saying something undoubtedly inappropriate, but sadly I don’t speak the language. Trololololol.

All in all, this is a fairly decent EP from a young band. I can’t say there’s anything particularly inventive or new to the genre, but it’s a solid sound with a couple choice tracks that are definitely worth checking out. If you’re into this brand of deathcore, you’ll enjoy listening to “Unwritten Rules Prevail”. The vocals alone make it worth it.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Born With A Curse
2. A Late Sense Of Relief
3. The Ordeal
4. Of Roaches And Rats
5. Unwritten Rules Prevail
6. Algorithm Of Hate
7. Nihilism 2.0
Florian Durand - Vox
Mathieu Mangola - Vox
Fouad Ilias - Guitars
Julien Leluc - Basses
Adrien Roll - Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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