Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife


4.0
excellent

Review

by Thomas Michael Morris USER (36 Reviews)
January 4th, 2012 | 247 replies | 19,786 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "THE FUCKING GROWLS ARE BACK! THE MOTHER FUCKING GROWLS ARE BACK!"

10 of 10 thought this review was well written

Kayo Dot have been moving further and further away from a band-oriented, metallic sound ever since maudlin of the Well’s quietus a decade ago. Earlier releases such as Choirs of the Eye and Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue may have been anchored by their metallic cores, but they were surrounded by several layers of orchestral cacophony. From Blue Lambency Downward onwards, Driver’s compositions become more subdued, cryptic, and erratic in structure. It appeared as if Driver wanted to bury the notion of Kayo Dot being a “metal” band, or even a band at all in the sense of the word.

This is why Gamma Knife is such an interesting and refreshing release. It feels like a compromise between the “goth-fusion” aesthetic of Coyote, the droning ambience of Stained Glass, and the explosive, dissonant climaxes of pieces like “Gemini Becoming the Tripod” or “The Manifold Curiosity.” Yes, Gamma Knife supplies the metal that has been absent from any Kayo Dot release since Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue.

“Lethe” starts the release off on a more subdued note, however. An immediately tranquil atmosphere is painted by the swirling violins and orchestral chimes, before culminating with gregorian chanting reminiscent of cathedrals during the Latin Renaissance. Not an unintentional technique, I’m sure, with Lethe being one of the five Hadean rivers in Greek mythology. Surely, Kayo Dot have drank the Lethean water and completely forgotten their days as maudlin of the Well.

But no, “Lethe” comes to an end, and all hell breaks loose. “Rite of Goetic Evocation” immediately thrusts a sludgy, churning riff in the listener’s face before pairing it with a burst of messy woodwinds and a low death metal growl. The onslaught doesn’t let up from there, the madness has only just begun. Gamma Knife’s middle three tracks are as furious as any Toby Driver project has ever sounded. Blast-beats are utilized to punctuate to the churning riffs and hellish bouts of jazz-wind freakouts. Throughout these three pieces, Driver doesn’t deviate from utilizing both low-pitched growls and maniacal higher-pitched shrieks. The music here is much more closely related to the Avant-Black Metal stylings of Deathspell Omega or Ihsahn with the cacophonic density of a Kayo Dot release.

The fury subsides in time for the dreary title-track, which begins as if the previous 20 minutes hadn’t existed at all. The guitars and piano shimmer brilliantly as they play off tinkering solos. Driver’s muffled croons further accentuate any instrumental hits, before the song spirals into tranquil oblivion, ending quietly and inoffensively as Driver lets out a resounding last breath.

Gamma Knife is as short and concise as Kayo Dot have ever sounded, and at a digestible 32-minute run-time, it doesn’t overstay its welcome or noodle endlessly. While it may not contain the irrevocably powerful climaxes of their earlier material, the return of metallic elements is certainly a welcomed re-addition, and should excite those who haven’t cared as much for Kayo Dot’s recent releases. I, for one, am wholly satisfied.

4/5



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user ratings (193)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
LordHugoThePoet (5)
This is not an album of perfection. The album takes it's flaws and holds them at face value, just li...

mcg182 (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Yazz_Flute
January 4th 2012



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Been over a year since I added a review, feels good man.

Mostly a quick write-up, especially seeing as this was just released. I'm really enjoying it though.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



28466 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

speed demon!

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

Yazz_Flute
January 4th 2012



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Toby tweeted about it a few hours ago and I've probably given it four or so spins since.

But yeah nigs ain't beatin' me to the review this time.

Comatorium.
January 4th 2012



4106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is really good. And I've just listened to Choirs in passing.

Poet
January 4th 2012



5922 Comments


PoetandthePendulum and bodominflames reviews in consecutive days. What is this 2007/2008?

FadedSun
January 4th 2012



1260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Gave my first of many, many listens and liked it immediately. I have some issues with the recording, though. I wish they did a traditional recording. It sounds a little muddy during some of the middle tracks. The cheering at the end of one of the songs gives off the idea that it's a live album, which it is and isn't at the same time. Besides that, I'm loving this album.

Yazz_Flute
January 4th 2012



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Shit Poet, I'm feeling nostalgic.

Grammatical errors galore in this. Whoops. Editing them out.

Imperial
January 4th 2012



1726 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Such a good album. It feels short but it still feels right.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2012



8780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

definitely leagues above the last 2 albums. :]

reaganomics777
January 4th 2012



401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

About to give it a listen. I frankly hope it's too deep for the common man like their last two albums.

ohfoxxxycole
January 4th 2012



4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweeeeeeet

crazyblinddude
January 4th 2012



3389 Comments


This is a sweet surprise.

Tyrael
January 4th 2012



20828 Comments


Great

everything is just great

Tyrael
January 4th 2012



20828 Comments


With me? :D

jk

DoubtGin
January 4th 2012



6749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

......................

Tyrael
January 4th 2012



20828 Comments


aww

Ending
January 4th 2012



1896 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes yes yes! Good review, album is grand.

geng
January 4th 2012



1986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's here!. It's finally fucking here! Can't wait to hear this. Nice review.

urethra
January 4th 2012



14 Comments


Pretty sure Driver doesn't use improvisation in his compositions, just a little niggle.

geng
January 4th 2012



1986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First impressions: really really really good.



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