Khanus – Flammarion (Review)

KhanusKhanus are a Finnish blackened death metal band and this is their debut album.

Featuring a member of Code, Khanus play unorthodox black/death metal with a depth of appeal that comes from ritualistic, shamanistic, and occult influences, as well as the aspects of non-death metal styles that the music incorporates into itself.

This is surprisingly textured and layered music, especially when you consider that Flammarion is essentially a death metal album that has ideas above its station. Having said that, however, Khanus certainly aren’t your standard death metal band, nor were they ever conceived as such, and their existence owes as much to black metal and its avant-garde tendencies than it does to the fiery aggression that lives at the heart of pure death metal.

It’s easy to get lost in the band’s dark melodies and esoteric riffing, and the music on this release contains 45 minutes of material that mixes moods and feelings across the tracks with the ease of a band that find it natural to merge different ideas and genres together.

The avant-garde elements of the music lend a lot of the material here a quirky theatrical side. Although it’s easy to imagine how this might not work when juxtaposed against the brutality of the band’s death metal core, they actually manage to reconcile the two aspects of the music well, and the songs aren’t overblown or overstated in this regard.

The theatrical influence is also felt in the vocals, with soprano cleans adding to the bellowing fury of the more aggressive singing. It’s a varied delivery, and works a lot better here than it does for a lot of bands that try to pull off similar performances.

If you imagine a band like Arcturus if they were coming from more of a death metal viewpoint rather than a black metal one, and then throw in some Behemoth, you might have a decent idea of what Flammarion sounds like. Well, it’s a starting point at least.

Oh, and the very first track is a reinterpretation of Darkthrone’sĀ The Serpent’s Harvest. Khanus certainly aren’t lacking in either ambition or confidence.

I enjoyed this. In fact, it’s one of those releases that I like even more the more I listen to it. Give it a spin and see what you think.

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