Vera : Out of the ashes of Agalloch and Giant Squid, a new band has come into being: Khôrada. In their ranks one can find ex-Agalloch guitarist Don Anderson and ex-Giant Squid vocalist/guitarist Aaron John Gregory, completed with bassist Jason Walton and drummer Aesop Dekker as rhythm section. Agalloch as atmospheric black metal band might be sufficiently known amongst our readers, Giant Squid happens to be a progressive doom/post rock collective which released four albums between 2004 and 2014 and they were praised in the underground.
This new outfit gives the musicians the opportunity to explore new musical horizons with a fresh approach. The debut album ‘Salt’ was written during the beginning of the Trump era in the US and emotionally it consequently mirrors the state of mind of the musicians at that time, living in uncertain, sometimes mad times. It speaks for itself that it explains the rather dark timbre of the lengthy, fluttering compositions. On the other hand, music also gives solace in bitter times and thus ‘Salt’ might be seen as a kind of solace in our unpredictable lives.
‘Salt’ offers us six very extensive compositions and one calm interlude. ‘Edeste’ opens with atmospheric, calm guitars and soaring soloing, but vocals of Aaron sound a bit weird and hazy. It will appear that his emotional performance turns into a matter of ‘love it or hate it’. The sound is rough and muddy, with towards the end of the song a quiescent fragment with thoughtful chants. Loads of atmosphere building again in ‘Seasons Of Salt’, with smooth shifting from calm to fervent rocking parts. These eruptions sometimes end up in a kind of controlled chaos. Elements of new wave and alternative rock sometimes pop up, for instance in ‘Water Rights’. It sounds depraved and has an anarchistic tinge. ‘Glacial Gold’ remains mainly calm with soaring guitars and fragile vocals. Bass and saxophone create an arty-farty flavour in ‘Wave State’. Some of its parts are dense and stamping, guitar skills are delicious. Our favourite of this album is the occluding track ‘Ossify’ which has the nearest approach to accessible gothic rock. Tight rhythms and quite a catchy chorus, and… after seven minutes a true Sólstafir moment (mark my words), followed by a great apotheosis. From time to time we are not totally convinced by the vocals, but a new interesting band is born!