Khnvm – Foretold Monuments of Flesh (2019) REVIEW

Echoing woes and bloody torment condensates, drips slow as horrors slicking the festering tumescent halls of the miasmic serpent. Generations born with a flit of darkness in the corner of their eye now see only death and the beast around them, the shutters of their religion now smashed away. Entire cults of martyrdom are admitted as voluntary toy for the great plague-bearer He, the viper and they the fattening complacent rats above. So lazes the fanged death-bringer, tamed into sleep by the massive eradication of life that sustains He, the ancient ruin of man at rest. Built upon a foundation of millennium-spawned brutal realities and heartily ripened in its reinforced moss and fungus-haired forbidden corridors, the eyes of chaos and damnation flick open lighting the world with the din of Khnvm as if a flame burst to life that’d char the Earth to carbon and suffocation. ‘Foretold Monuments of Flesh’ is a first penance and dire warn of the ills of man in service to the great serpent, a damning of cult and a horrifying wail of death music to incense the mind and incant defiance of the complacent follower and the self-destructive zealot.

Classicist in spirit but with a violence appropriate for their respective modern underground death metal climes, the music of comes from an international union of Dhaka, Bangladesh based musician Obliteration (Nekrohowl, Homicide) who handles all instrumentation, excepting the drums, which are blasted to hell in the hands of ‘Germany by way of Poland’ drummer Krzysztof Klingbein (ThunderwarResurrection). Both musicians bring distinct influences that amount to a classic form of brutally delivered death metal that doesn’t ever verge on moshable stupidity; Think along the lines of the finer releases from Azarath, Sinister, and Blaspherian (‘Allegiance to the Will of Damnation’, especially) over the years but with a darker edge that you’d have expected from a label like Moribund Records in the first half of the 2000’s (Godless Rising, Serpens Aeon, etc.). I suppose if none of that rings a bell you’d likely missed out on a few generations worth of traditional death metal beyond a brutal streak that kicked in about twenty years ago. I’d still hesitate to describe Khnvm as entirely a brutal death metal band but ‘brutal’ is the right way to describe Klingbein‘s style of drumming, though he reels it in often enough to not bury Obliteration‘s generally dynamic arrangements. 

‘Foretold Monuments of Flesh’ is the sort of death metal record you remember for its initial energy, its sound, and a handful of riffs but the composition is influenced by an era of excess that avoids any traditionally memorable elements for the sake of that harried attack. As such, this is one for folks driven by thick atmosphere and suffocating barrages of riff and battery, what I’d consider ‘death metal influenced death metal’ that amplifies all points of excess that would peak within generations of bands like Dead Congregation and Domains but persist in sustainably average pools of talent for a decade since. I don’t intend that observation in a reductive sense, only that Khnvm debut with a polished and effective standard death metal album primarily for fans of pure death metal, their snipers are aimed at a classic and brutal sound. As a lover of all things death metal I appreciate the level of detail Obliteration puts into each of the projects he is involved in but I find ‘Foretold Monuments of Flesh’ to have the most exciting and accomplished movement, the pieces flow together in such a satisfying way that I never grew tired of the albums momentum-based movement despite some of the more ‘standard’ guitar work along the way (see: “Sic Mundus Creatus Est”, which features Abysmal Dawn drummer James Coppolino).

Khnvm‘s debut puts them on my radar in a positive light and I can confidently recommend this first strike to fans of both ‘old school’ and the post-millennium brutalist death metal movements in Poland and the Netherlands. A keen grasp of variation of pace and the creation of atmosphere within guitar-forward composition should immediately appeal to fans of the more lasting forms of traditional death metal that stand firmly a few steps outside the sub-genres thrash influenced beginnings. Moderately high recommendation. For preview “Profaning the Ancient Rites” kicks into such a solid gear I’d consider it an album-seller, otherwise the title track sets an accurate standard for the full listen.

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Artist KHNVM
Type Album
Released March 29, 2019
BUY & LISTEN on Testimony Records’ Bandcamp! Follow KHNVM on Facebook
Genre Death Metal

Damning manifesto. 3.75/5.0

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