Since its well-documented 2nd-wave explosion in the early 90s, black metal has adopted a few signature techniques and tempos. One of these includes a flowing approach characterized by fast-paced drumming accompanied by tremolo-picked guitars (sometimes melodic and mournful, other times dissonant and off-putting). This flowing sound has long since been taken in many directions, and is particularly prevalent among Ulver-worshipping bands that put trees on their album covers, as well as the indie-infused black-gaze set. Although this way of playing can create an evocative, immersive atmosphere: it can also turn into a long, boring mess, which it often does.
So it’s nice to have bands like Khandra around. The Belorussian duo has been quiet on personal details, but loud on creating quality, memorable black metal. Yes, they create a lot of atmosphere on “Where death has settled in life,” but they still mold the guitar parts in a way where you can still hear what the hell is going on. And as this is not a fresh, new style by any stretch, it’s heartening to hear a new band capable of making an example of it that’s worth listening to – getting stuck in your head and then playing again and again.
Let’s hope for a full-length album from these guys soon. Even if we never find out anything about them (Metal Archives hasn’t even been able to get names yet), Khandra is certainly a black metal band worth watching.