Sunday, July 12, 2009

KTL - s-t

KTL are Stephen O' Malley (Sunn O))), Khanate et al) and Peter Rehberg (Pita).

"It is interesting then to hear this collaboration purely from a historical standpoint; the two musicians reside in seemingly totally different areas of the musical spectrum, yet on listening to KTL it seems like a match made in heaven (or maybe hell...). We begin the journey with 'Estranged' - a 25 minute exploration into gothic ambience, which maybe edges closer to Burzum's ritualistic (and prison-bound) electronic work or the icy cave-scapes of Thomas Koner than the ear-bludgeoning noise-fest you'd expect. Slowly O'Malley's guitar is introduced, creaking and scratching its way into the sound field and coming up to the fore only briefly in the final quarter of the piece. A nice way to lull the listeners into a false sense of security, this cavernous chunk of gloom is followed by the first part of four 'Forest Floor' tracks, which with a skeletal finger ushers us into O'Malleys black-metal inspired world while allowing Rehberg to conjur up wobbling sub-bass frequencies and horrifying electronic noise. The second part pushes us more definitely into Rehberg's world as distorted squeals erupt over O'Malley's bass drones; this is extreme music as it should be, all-encompassing and visceral, rich in imagery and deadly in it's statement. By the time we reach the third part our bodies are already battered and sliced to ribbons so we are pushed beneath a thick swamp as Rehberg processes the sludge and doom so synonymous with O'Malley's name and makes it sludgier and... well... more doomy. This is where you realise this is music that simply must be played at a high volume. Like Tim Hecker's incredible 'Harmony in Ultraviolet' the distortions and computer-processed sounds only reveal themselves when the decibel level pushes the point of discomfort. The fourth and final part of the quadrilogy is probably the closest to 'proper' black metal, with heavily distorted riffs bursting through the crumbling noise and coming across like a Xasthur track playing in a room next door, I keep expecting Malefic's throaty groans to appear horrifically on top, but they never come. Now the disc takes a turn, after the narrative epic that was 'Forest Floor' we are heralded out of the album with 'Snow', a track which to me sounds what I imagine it would be like to be trapped in an underground storage unit in Siberia. It's frightening but at the same time strangely beautiful, and as chains clank and metal scrapes against metal you become somehow drawn in to the intense imagery that has been left exposed. The density of the previous tracks is sidestepped for a more minimal approach which strangely enough enhances the terror and dread felt across the whole disc. 'KTL' is easily one of the most involving and simply horrific discs I've heard this year; it marks a disparate new phase in doom music and is the finest exploitation movie you'll never see. A huge recommendation." - Boomkat

Douchejan Stevens