Tue 17th January 2017
So, Dakhma are a three piece black metal, crust, grind hybrid, from Michigan. Sounds good. Here's Suna Kulto, their album, released through Halo of Flies, two twenty minute tracks. Black metal, crust, grind - twenty minutes. Hmmm, but it's enough to pique the interest so dive in.
Holy fuck this is good. I wasn't prepared for this. Rather than try and put this into sensible paragraphs, I'm going to just copy across my reviewing notes verbatim, it seems apt.
1 - Coins (20.37) - Full pelt BM with an emotional feel, two minutes in I'm sold. 2.28 - emotional edge. Sounds like it's a tape to tape copy. 4 mins - screamo-post hardcore (a rougher Bosse De Nage?), the rawness of the recording never allowing it to release into post rock niceties, always keeping it mired beneath the waters, reaching upwards but always sinking. 7 mins - unrelenting drums, tinny as fuck guitar, brilliant. 8.33 - breaks... punk for a second, throws themselves back into the well. 9.45 - breaks again... quiet, spoken word mumbled beneath, breaks to harsh on the ears higher pitched BM, at 11.39. I'm still on the edge of my seat, still willing this on, fist clenched, uplifted. Atmospheric BM now, 13 mins. 14.32 - hardcore drumming, all out war, wow. 15 mins, stops, starts with quiet, for a while. 17 mins - built up, pent up emotion, flowering outwards, always with restraint, never too promising. 19.45 ends, plays out for last minute.
2 - East (19.27) - Slower on the uptake, a post-something introduction, goes for the throat before the two mintes are up though, the restraint unable to hold. Vocals even more painfully delivered than before. 4.45 - the riff comes to the fore, emboldened. This is hardcore and BM in perfect union, think Hexis or Celeste or Black Monolith or... well, Dakhma as this is theirs. Stops at 6.50. A few minutes of brooding quiet. 9 mins, starts again, 10 mins, harsh tone! all or nothing, all energy expended, all emotion wrangled from every breath they have, you can feel the vocalist - no, the whole band - giving everything, punk sweat and mentality over black metal, awesome. 14.50 - only stops now, to spoken word, to 17 mins post-metal, post-BM build up and expulsion, the payoff gripping, an emotional end before descent into a wind tunnel noise ending.
The basic recording, whether purposeful or not, is essential, almost an instrument in itself, masking the sound in the dirt. This is harsh, with hardcore uplift only partially lifting the gloom. The band give everything, the length of tracks no hinderance to their energy - how they ever perform this live is beyond me. And ultimately, this is stunning. The year may be only fifteen days old (at time of first listening), but this is the most inspiring thing I've heard in 2017 so far, and there have already been many contenders. Black metal, crust, grind - emotional? Somehow, resoundingly, yes, Dakhma grab you, force you into their world and leave you emboldened and empty at the end. It's quite beautiful.