Khanate - Capture & Release (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Capture & Release (2005)

Hydra Head

I hope you've got some patience, because Khanate's Capture & Release will surely test it. Two songs, forty-three minutes, and the most minimal amount of instrumentation that a band could truly muster while still actually having some.

If you're at all familiar with Hydra Head, you know the kind of releases that the label puts out, so how you feel about this band will most likely be dependant on your overall view of the label. Slowly plodding along for 18 minutes, the mixture of drone and harsh screaming that is "Capture'' keeps you anticipating an explosion of fury that never really comes to pass. And for those arguing for a band like Khanate's brilliance, that's where it is, in the anticipation. Every slow, blood-curdling scream, every hit of the bass drum, leaves you wondering just what lies around that bend. A state of uncertainty and some dense atmospheres are what a band like this relies on. They've taken the verse-chorus-verse formula, and pushed it to the absolute farthest away point on the opposite end of the spectrum.

It's at the end of the spectrum where the bounds of conventional music are pushed so far, people ask, "is it even music?"

But that's a debate I'm not going to involve everyone with. If you're still reading, I'm assuming you'll take the artistic value of a band like this, and take the album as a musical venture. On that basis, is it one you'll enjoy? And again, it's all about patience. The 25-minute "Release" is a track that will reward that patience. The vocals are much more prevalent, and much more desperate than they have previously appeared. For the most part, when there are vocals, nothing more than the plucking and reverberating of one guitar chord is in the background. A subtle and quiet cascade of snare starts up, and the slow, plodding vocals just increase in conviction, and with that they become raspier by the minute. The guitar and drums are crashing every 20 seconds or so, slowly but surely building up until quiet overcomes everything again. That's the same let-down I referred to earlier; every time it seems an explosion is imminent, that's when things become quiet once again. Moving closer and closer to the end, the band turns to an Isis-like drone with extremely heavy and sludgy guitar work that's no doubt repetitious, but mesmerizing at the very same time.

I won't lie to you; this latest release from Hydra Head is no easy listen, but the rewards are there, and they are aplenty, if only you're willing to take the time to look.