'Kenòs. It may be my total metal illiteracy, but I had never heard of these guys before. Pity I didn’t, because I liked this band the very instant their latest album, X-torsion, started gently playing through my speakers. WTF?! Gently?!
Yep, gently, as the first seconds of the opening track are of the soft atmospheric and acoustic type. Not really a hummable melody, but something deeper than that, sketching the outline of what is to come: something both beautiful and epic. And kick-ass too.
Room Sexteen, which is that opening track, starts off as if it were a slow doom metal song. But that is not to last, as it breaks off into a speedy piece of Thrash-like Death race for the verses. The more gentle bits from the start return in the choruses, but it takes until the guitar solo until the two elements, fast and raw versus slow and mysterious, really come together.
It’s a fast but melodic solo, with a bunch of well-placed bends giving it a delicious fullness, over quick and crusty riffs and at the end it naturally flows into a mood-setting piece that eventually morphs into the female vocal-supported substance of which also the choruses are made up. And that exact moment is the moment at which you fully grasp the song. Putting it short: excellent song that doesn’t blow its full load at once. Also, one of my favorite songs on the album.
Then comes the second song, 2012 Omega Assimilation, and as its title suggests it’s of a different level and it requires a more active listening approach. Is dark tunes run right alongside those of typical Black Metal. It, together with the diverse opening track, is also a precursor of the variation that this album has to offer, as there are also two (beautiful) acoustic songs, one of which is also instrumental, and a song that takes more of a prog rock balad type of approach, titled Erocktika (Desert Dancing Raven Queen), with an Ozzy Osbourne style epic solo part and a host of different male and female vocal styles. (Taking a few breaths now, after that idiotically long sentence.)
But the best, and most no-nonsense Death Metal, song is Revolver Revival. Its intro is a chord progression, like in common rock, only with a tuning that makes the notes fall off the staff. Then starts the riff. First, in the distance. As if played inside a tin can. Then it breaks free, Mr. Baboon starts his deep guttural grunts and my hand, as if driven by the Metal Gods themselves, turns the volume up. By 20 levels or so.
Now, that by itself, alternated with some different riffs and progressions here and there, would have made an excellent song already. But, Kenòs, master chefs as they are, don’t forget the sauce that takes it up to the next level. Just after the halfway marker the songs slows down and becomes more descriptive. Some great melodies pop in, played with higher-up chords, just before a great solo comes in that steers the song into a more melodic direction, towards its end.
This album being rather summit-rich, there’s another song worth highlighting, which is the last one. Eyes of Hurricane Part 2 is the acoustic instrumental I mentioned. It’s the one that takes you up to heaven. Slow-paced, two or three guitars going over each other, sensitive notes and phrases, dynamically played to give them a whole extra dimension when they enter your mind. Seriously, it’s perfect love-making music, and no, it’s by no means cheesy or cheap. Buy a couple of roses, put this song on repeat when she gets home and it’s going to be a long love-full night.
What’s also nice, is that this song’s acoustics tie in nicely with the acoustic notes that kick off the first song. That makes that, if you’re not very careful, you’ll be listening to this album multiple spins in a row without noticing. The songs’ depth make this extra plausible. Believe me, I’ve listened to X-torsion front to back about ten or fifteen times in the last week and it just doesn’t wear out. Buy this and it’ll be one you’ll keep taking out of your album rack regularly for a long time to come! Trust me.
You know what, here’s the album’s title track to help convince you. It’s on the more thrashy side of the album, but you’ll find out thrash and speed, though it’s rich with it, aren’t all that this is song is about.'