Review Summary: Shit. Son of a bitch."Truth be told, I don’t even fvcking like you, bitch!"
Matt Honeycutt’s vocals pierce through the silence in “Boomslang” as this line is viciously delivered, summing up the entirety of Kublai Khan’s fourth LP, Absolute
. No other band in the current hardcore scene seems to have the pure vitriol that Kublai Khan brings forth and has brought throughout their entire 10-year career up to this point. Matt’s vocals are pure filth, perfectly accompanying the band’s dirty and gritty hardcore sound, and his lyrics are quite simply, angry. It would be hard to imagine feeling any other emotion on top of music like this.
The theme to the first two full-length tracks (if you can even consider them that) is quite literally “fvck you.” The phrase is repeated multiple times between “Boomslang” and “Us & Them.” The former of which opens with the absolute (pun intended) dirtiest riff of the year, much less the whole album. The song devolves into a hostile verbal assault with one breakdown after another, something that astonishingly doesn’t get tired whatsoever. Each breakdown in this two-and-a-half-minute track is nastier than the last, showcasing The band’s impeccable ear for groove. In fact, each and every song displays this quality, most notably in the intro to “Lower Level” and “High Hopes.” The latter opens with a gruff “1, 2, 3, DO IT” before laying down the grooviest drum beat accompanied with tasteful chugging guitars.
The greatest parts of this album are the small moments that help it become more than just another angry hardcore release. The songwriting flourishes are so beautifully placed throughout the album that it is impossible to get bored in an already short runtime. The closed hi-hat breakdown at the end of “Cloth Ears” which leads perfectly into the aforementioned “High Hopes” intro. The bass breakdown that closes out lead single “Self-Destruct,” another track that has a stellar groove in the verses, with Matt’s vocal delivery and cadence only adding to it. The riff within the bridge and outro of “The Truest Love” which is already a huge standout of the album on its own, with, again, Matt’s furious lyrical flow and delivery grabbing the listener’s attention with ease. To name and spoil every small detail of the record would be doing a disservice to the listener, as it is indescribably fun to pick out favorite moments in the tracklist.
One gripe with this album is that it comes to an end in a slow burn. This is simply a testament to the quality of the preceding music, as the final 3 tracks aren’t bad by any means, they just don’t hold up to the standard that the ones before it set. The beginning 7 tracks are phenomenal and everything that a fan could ask for in a record like this. So, naturally, when the 3 closing songs occur, they are slightly forgettable. That being said, they still deliver the basics of what makes most of Kublai Khan’s songs, on or off this record, super enjoyable. If you already know you aren’t a fan of this style of music, this album won’t change your mind. However, even heavy music lovers who may have not considered Kublai Khan to be their thing would find something to love about Absolute
. Every track on this album grooves hard and delivers an angry but meaningful message, two elements which easily draw the listener in, and are supported by every small but powerful songwriting detail strewn throughout Absolute