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Khazaddum
Plagues Upon Arda
July 2017
Released: 2017, Self Released
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

Out of the dwarven halls and into battle, Tolkien metallers Khazaddum roll the 20 sided die of death on their debut full length, PLAGUES UPON ARDA.



As with 2015’s IN DWARVEN HALLS EP, PLAGUES UPON ARDA is a confident and proficient collection of Middle Earth themed technical death metal in the vein of Nile and Tucker-era Morbid Angel. And in having the luxury of expanding that concept over the course of a full length record, the songs are more epic in scope, incorporating more complex arrangements and symphonic elements that help to play up the gravity of the source material.



Save for the opening intro, PLAGUES UPON ARDA is an endurance marathon of Balrog size proportions from beginning to end. The tunes rip at a ferocious pace, each packing a mathematically ridiculous amount of notes deployed at maximum velocity. The constant barrage coming through your speakers can be a bit daunting at times, but you’re generally hard pressed to step away for fear of missing what’s going to come next. Breakthrough moments like the arpeggio’d frenzy in “Legion of the White Hand” and the Behemoth-esque “Masters of the Plain” layer in some welcomed diversity through shaking up the song structure, as does the symphonic pomp of “Oathbreaker’s Curse” as it closes the album in true epic form.



For a debut album from a band still in their relative infancy, PLAGUES UPON ARDA is an impressive achievement; it’s a technically competent, well-constructed and devastatingly executed death metal record. Khazaddum have raised the bar a couple of notches not only for their peer group in the scene, but for themselves on future releases. But with no shortage of mythology to explore, I’m looking forward to hearing where they go next.
Track Listing

1. The Halls of Khazad-dum
2. The Deathless Crown
3. Lord of Isengard
4. Legion of the White Hand
5. The Fell Rider’s Scourge
6. The Black Hand of Gorthaur
7. Masters of the Plains
8. Shelob the Great
9. Oathbreaker’s Curse

Lineup

Luka Djordjevic – Vocals
Pete Kissane –Drums
Alex Rausa – Guitars
Pat Gunderson – Guitars
Tony Cannizzaro – Bass

Other reviews

» In Dwarven Halls
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

» Plagues Upon Arda
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

» Plagues Upon Arda
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team


Next review: » Khazaddum - Plagues Upon Arda
Khazaddum
Plagues Upon Arda
December 2017
Released: 2017, Self Released
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team

She sat, as it seemed for an eternity in darkness. Alone with her memories of glorious days filled with slaughter and feasting. The last child of Ungoliant, the first of the dark spiders to set their foulness upon Middle-Earth, she had grown fat and bloated over the eons. She was content.



Her massive frame sat lithely on interconnecting webs, all leading through the corridors of her mountain home. She was aware of everything, every little movement and sound. Anything foolish enough to enter her domain would run into these traps and she would instantly be aware of their presence.



She had no need to rush, they would not get out, and the larder was already full with her slowly decaying bounties. Once she had needed to eat her own children to survive, but no more. Ample prey was to be found in this region, and if days passed where nothing entered her lair then she would slip silently into the dark night and hunt. It was her nature, to hunt and to kill.



Lately she had become aware of a dark power rising again, as it had done once before, but she paid it no heed. The troubles of Men and the folk of Middle-Earth concerned her not, for she was evil personified, and served only her own dark desires. Blood and death and foul decay where her whims, and she delighted in inflicting them upon this world.



A sudden twinge on one of the many webs she rested upon half woke her from her slumber, then nothing for a time and so she drifted back into her memories of blood and horror, again content to rest. Again came the twinge, this time more insistent, what she first thought may have been a large bird or a wolf seemed to be much larger prey, and so she heaved her massive bulk up on her many legs and moved silently in the direction from whence it came.



Death on eight legs, she had killed it all, every creature that had ever had the misfortune to cross her path became her plaything before meeting it's demise. She had no fear, it was her ally and her greatest weapon. The mere sight of her could cause a Man's heart to explode in his chest, though it was no fun when they died that way, she much preferred to hear their tortured screams as she injected her poison into their bodies, watching them thrash in pain and foam at the mouth before eventually becoming deathly pale and silent for ever more.



Through the corridors and into a large cave she crept, horror incarnate, until she saw with her many eyes a strange figure standing in the distance, no make that three, two more lurked behind the first. They did not appear to be caught in one of her many traps, instead they seemed to be hitting the many webs almost as if to attract her attention. How foolish she thought, surely they had no idea what would come at them from the darkness. If she could smile she would have, instead she crept slowly forward believing that they where still unaware of her presence.



What where these beings she thought as she got a closer look. Short and stout, bearded folk, with thick arms and legs like tree trunks, they tugged at her memory, and they where holding strange objects in their hands. One had a round thing covered in what looked like skin hanging from a strap around his neck, and had two large bones in his hands. Another was holding what looked to be a large axe, but the fool was holding it casually near the blade the wrong way around and it had strings on it.



The first figure she had noticed held nothing. Nothing at all, he just stood rock still as he had stopped agitating the web nearest to him. Surely these fools, Dwarves as she now recalled,must have a death wish, and with that thought she lunges out of the darkness and rears up before them. Her fangs glistening with poison, blood lust now her only consuming impulse.



The three beings did not flinch, and for the first time ever Shelob the Great felt something akin to fear. The first figure then lent forward and started bellowing, as unholy a sound as she had ever heard in a language unknown to her. The one with the axe began to move his hands around the blade violently thrashing on the strings, and the one with the round skin covered object begins pounding away on it.



The noise created was so violent and unsettling that it assaults all of her fine senses. Her mind becomes clouded and she can not even think. She tries to move in for the kill but the sheer force of this, what surely must be some ancient magic keeps pushing her back. Louder and more intense the wall of sound becomes, and she has no other option. She cannot get close enough to kill these foul intruders.



The Giant Spider shifts her monstrous and murderous form and flees back down the tunnels she had crept up so filled with the surety that more food would be added to her larder. She does not stop in her normal abode, but flees deeper into the mountain. Anything to avoid ever hearing that wicked spell again. It has not killed her, but she has learnt that fear can be a horrible thing to feel.



She must rest a while, and consider her misfortune at the hands of these Dwarves, and in the meantime build another larder. The Orcs roaming around nearby will be a start, they possess none of these foul abilities as the Dwarven folk have shown her. They also know the true value of fear.



Poor Old Shelob, she just didn't get it, but you dear reader can. Khazaddum bring us some of the finest Death Metal these old ears have heard in a long time. Their first release 'In Dwarven Halls' was simply fucking divine, and now they have surpassed themselves with this one. Tolkien fan or not this is one album that you should own and own RIGHT FUCKING NOW! Also get the other one while you are at it, you will not be let down.



Kudos to Khazaddum! Just fucking brilliant. Please excuse my enthusiasm....



Review by Andrew Cook
Track Listing

1. The Halls of Khazad-Dum
2. The Deathless Crown
3. Lord of Isengard
4. Legion of the White Hand
5. The Fell Rider's Scourge
6. The Black Hand of Gorthaur
7. Masters of the Plains
8. Shelob the Great
9. Oathbreaker's Curse

Lineup

Luka Djordjevic - Vocals
Alex Rausa - Guitars
Pete Kissane - Drums

Contact
Other reviews

» In Dwarven Halls
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

» Plagues Upon Arda
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

» Plagues Upon Arda
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team






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