Review Summary: Khanate's Clean Hands Go Foul is a grueling opus in the field of drone metal.
Khanate, one of drone metal's most literal and outsider acts, has again taken the liberty of propelling drone metal to its breaking point on their fourth, and probably final full-length album, Clean Hands Go Foul
. This innovation and intensity was bound to happen somewhere along the line, but it wasn't meant to be this brittle, cold, or bastardized, was it? If the answer is yes (and it probably is), Khanate have completely ignored its presence and continued their cycle of back breaking musical slaughter, equipped with enough unstable misanthropy to go around.
From the beginning sounds of "Wings of Spine" it becomes evident that the lyrical content of the album fits Clean Hands
's cantankerous and menacing approach to music. Underneath rolling thunderclaps of shocking din is a straight-to-the-point maelstrom of lyrical simplicity that stays true to the album's surprising and cynical nature. Angels die and they probably deserve it; hell's no longer a fiery abyss because its flames have consumed our planet whole. Khanate's even made you a corner to stand in, a box to soak in, and a trench to drown in. These torturous chambers are about as jocund as the band gets, as evidenced by "In That Corner," a track which opens with a wall of dissonance and a raspy voice to match. High-end and low end battle constantly, thus making the song a bit hard to swallow, but once you've acquired the taste for Clean Hands
, it simply doesn't go away. It's hard not to want to relive the droning escalation that is "Every God Damn Thing," a thirty-two minute, droning epic. It's not hard to yearn for the sporadic shifts in Khanate's sound, for as your mind begins to think about wandering, it's put in its place by increases in speed and intensity. Perhaps this is what makes Clean Hands
the most extreme undertaking the band has gone for thus far: taking the genre they play to its limits, as well as being as brash as possible. They use dissonant guitar squalls and low-pitched drones to create a powerful score driven by incredibly slow rhythm patterns and propelled to new heights by scraggly, gravely vocals. Frenetic and brief guitar lines, reverberating bass, and boisterous drum work combine into an unadulterated soundscape rooted in anger and anguish, one which acts as not only the most exciting and emotionally impacting Khanate release thus far, but one of the most grueling and enthralling achievements in the drone metal scene - period.