Last year I reviewed A Primitive History, the first EP from Eternal Khan, a blackened doom metal band from Rhode Island. I loved it. Earlier this month, I got an e-mail from the band. They told me that they loved the review I wrote of their EP and asked if I could review their full-length debut. I agreed, and I was pleased by what I heard.
Whereas most other black metal bands prefer lo-fi production, Eternal Khan utilizes a clear sound. Despite this, the music still manages to sound amazing. Instead of going for a cold and desolate sound, Eternal Khan aims for something that is grand and enveloping, like the vastness of the steppes. The music itself is just as grand. It sounds like the approach of the Mongol hordes. Drummer D. Murphy mainly plays mid-paced rhythms, but the snare hits you with the force of superheated iron raining down from the sky. I especially loved the pounding militaristic rhythms at the beginning of the album. He really knows how to set the mood. And although the music is primarily doom oriented, he still plays blast beats on occasion.
The vocals are performed by N. Wood, and he still does a great Tom Warrior impression. His shouts are gruff and have a commanding aura to them. The guitars are played by T. Phrathep and mainly consist of creeping tremolo riffs and crushing chords. They're dark but they feel mighty. When they pick up the pace, they sound like stampeding cavalry. They are also moments when the riffs are imbued with piercing melodies, such as those on “The Tower” and “Into the Twilight Abysses”. These riffs sing triumph and glory. They sing of how wonderful it is to crush the enemy beneath your feet.
This was an amazing debut album. It's a fantastic combination of black metal and doom metal that features grand production and excellent musicianship. It's dark. It's mighty. It's a fitting tribute to the great khan himself.