Summer 2011 sees Khuda release ‘Iecava’, less than 12 months after their debut LP ‘Palingensia’ hit the shelves.
The band have again employed the talents of Ghosttown Studios in Leeds and mastering engineer Carl Saff (Young widows, OM, Grails etc)in the US.
‘Iecava’ once again mixes the cinematic, ominous and heaviness of Post-Metal with all the climaxes and breakdowns condensed into a concise thirty-five minutes of noise.
Khuda are on tour throughout Europe in June and July with the album released on Monday 8th August through Field Records in the UK and on vinyl through Prügelprinz Records.
Field Records continue their string of fantastic releases with the second full length from Leeds instrumental riff duo, Khuda.
Two lads?! How? Throughout my first listen to the eight chunks of post/math/riffage presented here, that’s all I could focus on. On Iecava, these two boys effortlessly lay down the layers and depth that could easily be expected of a more common three or four-piece setup, similar in strength to maybe God is an Astronaut, or Pelican. But with just two people making all the noise at once, seeing them live would most likely be impressive, if simply to see them pull it all off successfully. Of course, at opportune moments in tracks they always have the ability to easily strip back to basics, which enables them to bring the focus back to more simplistic elements of their songs.
Those songs themselves are instrumental, heavy and plodding, with layers of Tom Brooke’s delay-melodies and distorted post-metal riffs ebbing and flowing over technical and relentless drumming courtesy of Steve Myles. The tone of the music often gives the album a tense feel, like the constant building sans-drop of opener Seia, or the altogether strangeness of the tension-laced, yet somehow almost funky metal of Luka Mesto. Khuda‘s approach often seems to involve slowly increasing and decreasing tension, yet hardly ever resolving completely, always choosing to lead the listener into the next song instead. For example, title track Iecava begins with a drawn out and spacious intro, where layer after layer of tension is slathered over the top of the opening looped strumming of a single low note. Later, as the track progresses, it simply feels like a continuous progressive build up, more of a developing arrangement than a track with verses and choruses. When it finally reaches the triumphant final heavy chords of the crescendo, the tension is overbearing, and it ends suddenly leaving the listener perpetually on edge. Frustrating, yes, but clever work from Khuda, as it creates a definitive style for them whilst also straying away from the cliché traps and pitfalls of predictable joyous post-rock.
Following the tense title track, Haikyo stands out as one of my favourites, the ethereal ambient melodic loops providing some welcome respite with the feel of a slow midsection in a Russian Circles track, which is a great compliment in my eyes. It picks up the pace with a rhythmic switch up halfway through, where after a simple solid groove leads it out to its unexpected outro riff. Another highlight is final track Tyche, which does well to include some elements of an album closer, whilst keeping it fresh with some great drumming, some fairly stripped back sections, and some unexpected twists. Overall the album has a lot of goodness hidden in its depths, and somehow Field Records continue on their winning streak.
Khuda’s first full-length, Palingensia (released in 2010), is a massive rock beast of a record. The final track ‘Antaeus‘ continues to be one of my go-to songs when introducing a new fan to the band. It’s a 9 minute densely-driven heavy assault that easily confirms the band’s position as one of the innovators of this unique and kick@ss style of instrumental rock. You’re left satisfied (and exhausted), and wanting more…
And now the wait is over – Khuda’s second long-player, Iecava, (released through Field Records) delivers 8 more blazing winners. Fans will be pleased to note that the band’s signature percussive style (I call it “dry tight tom” – I’m not a drummer, so I obviously don’t know the proper term to describe his technique), their familiar psych/sonic guitar tunings are still here, and the arrangements are as brooding and ominous as they are on Plaingensia. I listen to both records a lot, and they both make me feel like I do when I’m watching a storm slowly roll in. The wind picks up, the leaves turn over, the air is charged, and I’m feeling slightly uneasy and tense. There’s no letting up as you listen through these songs – the pace is strong throughout, even during the calm moments. No distracting vocals, and no need for instruments other than guitars and drums. Full-on in-your-face instrumental rock, delivered with drill-press intensity.
This record has a few more extended “quiet” sections (which translates to slightly less crushing than songs like ‘Antaeus’), and it does have a more stripped down feel to it. Now don’t take that the wrong way, there is still plenty of heaviness on this record, but there are also songs such as ‘Don Benito’ and ‘Haikyo’ that are a bit more mellow and introspective. You’ll hear the Khuda-style stacatto punch of drums and guitar on ‘Boreas’ and ‘Luka Mesto’ – both songs are as taut as a bow string. The title song ‘Iecava’ starts as a slow burn with guitar squeals that probe and swirl, but then crescendos into a controlled grind that reminds me of one of my favorite bands from the old days, Of Cabbages and Kings. ‘Marchmen’ and ‘Tyche’ deliver the record’s final punch, again utilizing the familiar combination of Khuda-tuned guitars, crunching over the skin-tight drumming.
I’m not going to try to pick a favorite between the two releases. Palingensia is a powerful and heavy rock record. Whereas Iecava, although still a strong, tight set of music, is more restrained in its attack. Each record is excellent, and I enjoy them both immensely. For a two-man project, they make a hell of a racket. Hopefully someday I’ll have the opportunity to see them live so I can be crushed by the power of ‘Antaeus’ the beast!
My daughters (Abby is 9 and Eliza is 5) have been helping me with my reviews lately. They listen to the music and draw while I write. Khuda reminds them of dragons – check out their beasts on the PDF linked below.
I think I have always been a fan of the musical two-piece, the duo. Why play music with three people when two will suffice? It often seems that when it comes to bands with two members, they can gel better and can create a tighter, much more personal sound. Well that’s what Khuda do anyway.
Khuda are a heavy instrumental duo from Leeds who formed back in 2007, but have only been gigging with their current line up since 2009. After their brilliant debut album ‘Palingenesia’, they are now back with a second helping.
Lecava is an 8-track record which shows huge potential right from the get go as it really immerses the listener in the instrumental and big brash world of Khuda.
The album intermixes light and dark moments as the band strives between the two poles in a paradoxically elegant and assaulting manner. Softly plucked guitar lines flow against tight drumbeats that help keep many of the songs in melodic tandem. The songs ‘Lacava’ and ‘Haikyo’ exhibit such moments of radiance that are often the basis for many of the tracks on Lecava.
‘Boreas’ is one of the heavier tracks on the record; portraying post-hardcore dischorded guitar riffs with some large breakdown drumbeats. These post-metal and ‘actual’ metal sections cut through the soft harmonious fragments perfectly and add a much needed buzz to the act. Their sound often reminds me of a more brooding Brontide or a more direct Russian Circles.
Khuda have a quietly deafening sound that doesn’t just have an emphasis on building from soft to loud, but they also manage to create songs that vary and evolve naturally through a sea of disparate influences and sounds. Lecava is the best representation of the band’s abilities to date.