Khaos Aeon - _Koenigreich_
(Independent, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
A new year, new musical blood, only this one has already been recorded and completed almost a year ago, and has not yet found a decent label to properly release this dark musical gem. Khaos Aeon is the best black metal band around you probably don't even know. These German wunderkinder write and play black metal in the Secrets of the Moon vein (_Privilegivm_ and _Seven Bells_ era), that is to say slow-paced, sombre, riff-oriented, guitar-driven, occult-ish, sensual and sinister metal, owning a singular sharp sound and charged with cold emotions and death-worship themes. And even though Khaos Aeon's sound is unmistakeably German, their style is far from being orthodox. But get this: no label was interested in releasing the album, Khaos Aeon's sophomore and brilliant _Koenigreich_, so the band were forced to release it independently.

Thank god, the spaghetti monster or whichever real or imagined deity responsible for decision making, the band hence decided to produce their magnificent second album totally by themselves after being rejected by numerous labels, and although the album's cover art had been modestly reduced to brown-ochre, on which the band's logo and album title were printed in gold letters, this minimalist visual presentation tells absolutely nothing about the musical contents of _Koenigreich_.

_Koenigreich_ is an album you could listen to ad infinitum. This is one of those rare albums that never get old, irrelevant or tiresome. Inflicting mental lacerations and dark, religious sentiments, Khaos Aeon's dour metal of black is calculated as fuck, accessible and melodic -- its melodies are obvious, grand and sinister. Obvious, yes, however not mundane, but of the kind that surely rouses the question in the minds of other musicians: "why the fuck didn't we think about this riff, melody, combination, et cetera?". Quasi-oriental nuances, edgy, crisp sound, minimal yet tremendously efficient tremolo picking, each track is perfect in its own right, seamlessly crafted and executed.

_Koenigreich_ is a better album than the band's already excellent debut, _Exitus_ (reviewed in CoC a couple of years ago); it shows trends of maturity and dark spirituality in a much improved manner than its predecessor, and the songwriting ability has almost quantum leaped; even the guitar showmanship has improved a notch, the guitars becoming the album's focal point, the album's main actors and actresses in this grand death-themed dark melodrama. The songs are catchier, offering a multitude of hooks and plot twists, and although the very backbone of the tracks is undoubtedly rooted deeply in the blackest reaches of the black metal 'movement', the band do not confine their musical aesthetics to that attire alone and experiment with healthy doses of classic rock elements, glorifying metal's roots as well as heavy metal's virtually endless potential while always staying robust, dark and sinister.

More than hinting at heavy metal, this whole album has a basic classic heavy metal structure, including the guitar solos; classic yet askew. Exploiting the excellent dual vocal skills of Isaz, the vocalist and one of the guitar players, the vocals oscillate between beautiful rasps and clear, deep baritone. Both vocal tones allow for a more sombre atmosphere to take over, while the guitars and the rhythm section complete the circle, displaying a sweltering, sizzling sonic cauldron of vitriolic poisonous fumes and abysmal, malevolent beauty insurmountable.

_Koenigreich_ is the alpha and the omega of everything beautiful, spiritual and artistic in black metal. Should anyone ever need a proof of the scope and depth of creativity found in black metal, and with it also a roadmap to transforming it to sheer art, must -- simply must -- check out _Koenigreich_. You won't find a better example!

Contact: http://www.khaos-aeon.de/

(article published 2/3/2013)


ALBUMS
5/15/2011 C Drishner 8.5 Khaos Aeon - Exitus
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