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Khandra – All Occupied by Sole Death

All Occupied by Sole Death
by Erika Kuenslter at 20 July 2021, 1:33 PM

I’m always happy to discover promising but obscure Black Metal bands from countries which don’t typically dominate the Metal scene. And exactly one such band is the Belarusian KHANDRA, who have just released their first full-length album “All Occupied by Sole Death” through Season of Mist Underground Activists.

The album starts off with a drummed intro that sets a murky and cavernous atmosphere, whilst dark synths further enhance the foreboding feeling given off by “Mute moleben”. This morphs somewhat abruptly into “Irrigating Lethal Acres with Blood”. What immediately stands out is the production: here, the drums stand out in the foreground, giving the songs a chunky, bassy feel. The guitars on the other hand have a clean and crisp sound, making the drumwork sound a bit muffled in comparison. The song itself is a solid start to the album, with a melody which ebbs and flows from rolling drummed sections to more dreamy guitar parts, underlaid with harsh and gravelly vocals. “Nothing but Immortality for Aye” follows a similar structure, albeit with a more mid-tempo pace. This gets switched up a bit in “In Harvest Against the Sun”, which has a slight Viking atmosphere to it, sounding somewhat like a Black Metal version of EINHERJER. “With the Blessing of Starless Night” sees the band return completely back to the realm of Black Metal, with their sound transforming more into the realms of MGLA. This song is complete with tremolo picked guitar riffs, blast beats, and icy rasped vocals, all tinged with a slightly discordant tone, lending the song an air of insanity. In the penultimate spot we find the melancholic “Thanatos”, its dirge-like tempo dragging you down after onslaught of “With the Blessing of Starless Night”. And before you know it, we’ve reached the end of the album, with the title song “All Occupied by Sole Death” drawing the closing curtains. This song slowly builds up the atmosphere before launching you into a pummelling frenzy of a song, ending the album off with a veritable kick to the face. This is really a stunning song, and shows you exactly the heights of which KHANDRA are capable of.

Overall, “All Occupied by Sole Death” is a promising album, and will hopefully see KHANDRA rise on to greater heights. However, one of the biggest issues I had with the album is the lack of variation between the songs. Stylistically, the songs each follow the same formulation. Sure, some have a faster pace, other are slower, and the riffs change a bit here and there, but other than that, it kind of feels like KHANDRA have found one recipe and have stuck with it throughout, making the album somewhat predictable. This is a pity, as the band certainly shows a lot of potential, and if they can remedy this, they will undoubtedly go on to garner quite the cult following.

Song-writing: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Mute moleben
2. Irrigating Lethal Acres with Blood
3. Nothing but Immortality for Aye
4. In Harvest Against the Sun
5. With the Blessing of Starless Night
6. Thanatos
7. All Occupied by Sole Death
Dmitry R - Guitars
Uladzimir B - Vocals
Anton S - Bass
Pavel V - Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist Underground Activists


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