Following on from 2017’s Turn Faces Away, Kassad now provide us with London Orbital, a dystopian concept album that’s modern and crushing in its bleak portrayal of near-future existence.
Kassad’s music is atmospheric post-black metal, combining harsh black metal with post-rock intricacy, dark ambience, and blackgaze atmosphere. It’s a delicate balance to do well, but Kassad manage it, producing music that feels as much as it rages. The songs have enough overtly blackened elements to be quite raw and harsh, but they also have a corresponding atmospheric quality that seems them be more emotive than your average blackened material.
There’s an anguished, hopeless feeling that suffuses this album. The music reeks of despair and urban misery, a gloom that permeates every part of each of the songs. The resplendent post-metal melodies are corrupted and sick, yet vibrant nonetheless. The raw distortion is juxtaposed by this colourful melodic side, and enhanced by the textured synths that layer the music with compelling appeal.
Grim blackened screams seem part of the tapestry of the music, rather than separate from it, just as I like for this sort of thing. They’re sparsely used, with large sections of music, (and sometimes entire tracks), absent their scathing touch. This is an album that’s about the entire overarching feeling of the music, and the journey it encourages, so sometimes the vocals are simply not necessary.
Thoughtful and well-judged, London Orbital is a strong album, one that it’s easy to immerse yourself in. I like the band’s modern approach to crafting blackened atmosphere, and Kassad’s music is enjoyable and compelling.