Khanate’s brand of doom metal is about as inaccessible as music can get, executed at an excruciatingly slow crawl in which every small action is left to reverberate into a deep, black nothingness. The foursome’s music is for the masochists among us, dudes (yes, we are all dudes) who equate music with catharsis, who journey unafraid into the darkest recesses of the corridors of rock. But Capture and Release is so overbearing, so relentlessly grim, so determinedly evil that it becomes comical after a while – an exercise in extremity that inadvertently crosses over into the realm of parody.
With this being the band’s modus operandi, it’s no surprise that Capture and Release takes forty-five minutes to plod through just two songs (appropriately titled “Capture” and “Release”). It’s also no surprise that the guitarist in this art-metal enterprise is Stephen O’Malley, he of the mighty, surprisingly popular Sunn O))). But whereas SunnO)))’s brand of down-tuned sludge is capable of bringing the listener to a state of meditative bliss, Khanate is always unsettling, residing in a world of pure menace. A lot of this menace emanates from vocalist Alan Dubin, whose glass-shattering screams sound like Mariah Carey being burned at the stake while a pack of wild dogs howl in approval.
But once it becomes clear that the band never intends to break out of its self-imposed slow-mo dirge, and as the songs stretch well past the ten-minute mark, Khanate begins to lose its edge. Dubin’s exhortations (sample lyric: “This is my house! Almost home! Almost home!”) begin to resemble those of a cranky four-year-old rather than the embodiment of all that is sinister.
It’s easy to imagine Khanate as a group of malevolent, red-eyed elves rocking away deep within the Earth’s core. Explorers to the Earth’s core are initially terrified by the discovery of these elves, but ultimately they realize that the bearded little fellas just need a hug. It’s lonely down there.
Hydrahead Records Web site