Hittites, Semites, Brahmans and even Greeks all practiced some form of ritual of sacred fire and salt to celebrate the new moon. Brahmanic traditions for the first lunar phase may have varied from region to region but offerings of salt were often thrown into the fire as a key offering when performing a type of Śrāddha to appease ancestors. Salted with fire, and in now crackling in sacrifice to a new moon, the concurrent disintegration of Agalloch and Giant Squid in 2016 brings new form and Being to those left to wander. Named for an allusion to Plato‘s third kind of metaphysical space Khôra, a proverbial limbo-esque container for his Forms that make up universal reality, Khôrada have created a heartfelt refuge atop chaotic circumstance with their debut full-length ‘Salt’.
Coming of age and arriving in Portland’s suburban art-walk extreme metal scene in the late 90’s it was absolutely impossible to avoid the clicking tongues of Agalloch fans as they reached greater audiences. Though at certain points John Haughm offered the ‘face’ and the grand ‘vision’ of his band, I can only imagine the insult of being touted as (basically) a good backing band following the demise of the project. Khôrada‘s lushly cascading amd art-rocking groans of trepidation and distraught post-metal fury speak volumes in defiance. Not only is ‘Salt’ a thrilling example of their own creativity and adept skill, but each has their own legacy of side projects and professional careers that speak for themselves. I don’t largely know what brought about Giant Squid‘s separation but I did enjoy ‘Minoans’ combination of Yes, Tom Waits, and The Ocean when it came out. Ultimately my own curiosity comes as a result of Khôrada‘s previous cumulative body of work and that nepotism was necessary to pique my initial interest in ‘Salt’.
Of course the long-distance symposia of literati Don Anderson and aqua-culturous Aaron Gregory has lead to an elastic, somber hypnosis of an album that defies convention yet serves the expectation of the ambitious guitar-rock each specializes in. Khôrada‘s work lands somewhere between the rousing epics of Primordial and the most soul-clubbing scores of Kayo Dot yet, ‘Salt’ is not easily translatable within metal sub-genre nor modern rock epithets. If already familiar with Gregory‘s presence in Giant Squid you might note he has reigned in some of his expression to create certain mood; It appears as if he’s not so much limiting his range but rather sharpening a few key knives towards greater affect. His performance does a great job of creating a focal point that reigns in Khôrada‘s multitudinous multi-genre spanning ideas into culmination.
From neofolk to post-metal and even some atmospheric black metal guitar work ‘Salt’ is less a shooting gallery for genre reference and more a cooperative, truly progressive melding of ‘current’ proportions. First and foremost it is a modern progressive rock record at the gates of sludge’s softer fringes and this means Anderson‘s own brand of extended, meticulous compositions can stretch freely in any direction in collaboration with the rest of the band. Fecund with emotive ideas and still primed by philosophy aiming the listener’s ear towards respect for Earth and environment, in every sense the holistic footprint of Khôrada is heard. Regardless of how democratic the process of becoming was ‘Salt’ is a sound listening experience impressively realized in full across less than two years time.
Wait, so what do they sound like? Sullen post-progressive atmospheric sludge rock? Yeah, kinda. There is no great way to prepare or impress upon a reader the gel that binds these elements so smoothly within Khôrada‘s ‘Salt’. I can only liken my impressions of the album to a review I wrote in ~1999 upon hearing Fugazi‘s ‘End Hits’ for the first time (in high school): “It’s weird as hell, it all seemed like a rock mess at first, it sounds like stuff I like, and it all comes together as it ends.” And if evidence of my long-extant knack for run-on sentences and comma abuse don’t say enough… I’d recommend previewing “Water Rights”, “Ossify” and “Seasons of Salt” to judge for yourself.
|Released||July 20, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Prophecy Productions’ Bandcamp!||Follow Khôrada on Facebook|
Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Our plastic cocoons. 3.75/5.0
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