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Khost – Copper Lock Hell

Cold Spring

Khost - Copper Lock HellRight, it seems there must be two Andy Swans. There’s the Andy Swan who heads up Iroha, one of the UK’s most underrated “massive hooks with massive riffs” bands. Then there’s the Andy Swan in Khost – an outfit where melody isn’t part of the deal and crushing slabs of claustrophobia are the order of the day here.

Copper Lock Hell is a brutal, brutal record. It’s uniformly funereal in its pace, and really it flirts with degrees of darkness as opposed to light and shade. But it’s deeply layered and considered too. Third track “Hypocrisy Banality Possession” – featuring a beat that’s almost as sparse as your chances of finding any semblance of hope – is a fuzzy wall of violence and negativity. And like a number of songs on Copper Lock Hell, it’s punctuated by a middle-eastern motif that does a top job of placing your imagination roughly 2,000 years in the past.

Following track “Amoral Apathy Suppression” starts with a loop so Iroha-like that you might think Swan has become confused as to where he is – but no, it soon throws you straight back into the growling, grinding maelstrom. The closing number, which is a remix of second track “14 Daggers” by collaborator Kevin Laska, is probably the album’s most restrained moment, letting cello mix with the sort of stretched-out guitar feedback that seems to speak directly to your soul.

Copper Lock Hell fills an important void between the metal and drone camps. It could easily be a gateway record for those who love riffs, but find themselves intrigued by the more esoteric noises of the underground without a suitable entry point. It’s equal parts terrifying and enthralling. And it’s brilliant.

-James Barry-

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