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Khar Sulde - The Black Banners of Cosmic War

Khar Sulde
The Black Banners of Cosmic War
by Gary Hernandez at 07 September 2020, 1:49 PM

They say — okay, I say — Austin is the Orange County (California) of Texas. Little did I suspect it is also the Norway of Texas, at least musically speaking. I mean if you count one band as a scene and if that band is KHAR SULDE. This little Black Metal band from Texas has just released their debut, “The Black Banners of Cosmic War,” August 17, 2020 on the New York label, Crown and Throne Ltd. It is a glorious SWBM barrage of distortion and bottom-of-the-well screeching that sounds like it was recorded on a portable Panasonic cassette recorder from 1982.

Zach Fogle plays all instruments on the album, and also wrote all the tracks. Rusty Kelley and Emelia McKay — partners in life, crime, and art — provide the vocals. The band name is apparently a Mongolian word meaning “black war banner,” although my Google Translate begs to differ and cites “black coat of arms.” Perhaps under other circumstances this album would be called “The Black Coat Of Arms Of Cosmic War.” Their verbose song titles rival the song title genius of REBEL WIZARD and almost read as a short story, albeit a very short, short story.

The band has stated that they are “dedicated to dissecting and interrogating the concepts of war and the spiritual relationship between violent conflict and humanity.” (New drinking game: Doctoral thesis or Black Metal song title?)  Can’t say whether or not they achieved their goal, at least lyrically speaking, since I can’t decipher the vocals, but musically I’d say they arrived. Every inch of this album is war-worshipping.

My favorite tracks are “A Shattered Statue Of The Archangel Raphael Found In The Ruins Of Monte Cassino” for its Doomy groove; “Ritualized Violence And Murder In Kandahar Province (A Shrine To The Goddess Mara)” for its borderline Punk vibe; and “4th Armored Division Encounters A Steppe Daemon While Liberating Ohrdruf” just because.
Not sure if you’ll see KHAR SULDE at SXSW music festival or even if there will ever be one again, but if you’re a Black Metal fan you’ll need to check them out. I love it that a place so far removed geographically and ideologically from where Black Metal was born has proven fertile breeding ground for the second coming.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. C-123s Spraying Agent Orange Using The Call Sign Hades
2. A Shattered Statue Of The Archangel Raphael Found In The Ruins Of Monte Cassino
3. Ritualized Violence And Murder In Kandahar Province (A Shrine To The Goddess Mara)
4. Harrying Of The North (God Will Punish Him)
5. 4th Armored Division Encounters A Steppe Daemon While Liberating Ohrdruf
6. Military Ritual To Lord Abaddon With Radiation And Fire (Fat Man/Little Boy)
7. Battle Of Towton (To Call The Goddess Nemain)
8. Siege Of Przemysl (A Crumbling Fortress Slowly Disappears Into A Black Hole)
Lineup:
Zach Fogle – All Instruments
Emelia McKay – Vocals
Rusty Kelley – Vocals
Record Label: Crown and Throne LTD
     


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