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A. Failures (Part 1) 18:56
B. Failures (Part 2) 19:12
Members of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs & Blown Out
Bass Guitar – John-Michael Hedley
Drums – Matthew Baty
Guitar – Adam Ian Sykes, Richard Dawson, Sam Grant
Vocals, Synth – Stephen Palmer
Since 2006, Khünnt have fervently explored the boundaries of esoteric music,
from minimalist noise, cack-rock and ESP screams to live improvisation,
fog-beat and psychedelic city mantra.
To celebrate their 10 year anniversary Khünnt announce new material to be
released on Riot Season titled 'Failures'. The new record will be
accompanied by a CD compilation of the band’s entire blighted back catalogue
titled 'Past, Present & Future'.
'Failures' is a one track near 40 minute hypnotic passage split over two
parts for a 12” vinyl release. For the most part the album is less
aggravated and more smoked out than Khünnt's previous output but be warned,
it is no less intense. The album masterfully exploits repetition and dynamic
to the point of overload, before collapsing into raw, feral carnage.
The performance of ’Failures' was expertly captured, mixed and mastered by
Sam Grant (Bong – Stoner Rock, Haikai No Ku – Ultra High Dimensionality) at
Blank Studios, Newcastle.
WATCH THE 'PLAY LOUD' PROMO VIDEO BELOW
Even for those accustomed to the nastier things in life a new offering from
Newcastle’s Khünnt is an intimidating prospect. The first thing you notice
is the run time: 38 minute run time for one track. You take a deep breath.
Then you read the title Failures to yourself a couple of times, rolling the
misery over your tongue for a few moments like you were sampling a fine
wine. You mentally start to brace yourself. There’s nothing for it: it’s
time to black out the windows and reach for the drinks cabinet. If you’re
familiar with their work you know where they’re planning to take you. And it’s
Khünnt have been sporadically unleashing blasts of glacial paced feral noise
for a decade now. Their playbook is well established – the barely human
shrieks, the drums that hammer like nails into coffins, the elemental guitar
cacophony. But on Failures they push things to new extremes. In their blurb
label Riot Season mention doom and sludge – on earlier releases like Dead
Eyes and Brazen Bull there were elements of both, but now Khünnt’s sound is
so far removed from slow handed riffery or mindless Sabbath worship it
renders both terms meaningless. They don’t do riffs here – guitars are
stripped to their ability to create sonic weight and unsettling noise. It’s
more a conjuring than a recital.
In terms of peers you have to look to the likes of The Body, Gnaw Their
Tongues and Khanate for similar sounds. Bands that don’t sing about filth
and horror; they embody it. Failures plays out like a Wrekmeister Harmonies
album after the whole fall from grace thing – they cut to the chase, start
from the bottom and stay down there. An incessant muted chime runs from its
opening bars through almost the whole of the 38 minute run time, a sound
that if you make it the whole way through will haunt your dreams. Every time
you hear a ringtone or a mobile alert that sounds a little like it a chill
will run down your spine. A single guitar chord is played over and over, the
distortion left to hang in the air like some fetid stench. Repetition has
been a key element of their attack and on Failures they take it to fanatical
levels. It can be used to conjure so many emotions and mental states from
the listener but for Khünnt it only ever serves one of two purposes: to
signify threat or unspeakable sadness. I’m not sure which is more
Otherworldly guitar noise that sounds like it’s crossed over from a Haikai
No Ku record drifts menacingly in and out. It reaches almost unbearable
levels of tension over 10 long minutes before everything drops out and the
vocals kick in, sounding like some grotesque creature is being birthed out
through a man’s throat. Then things get truly harrowing. And so it goes for
the next 20 minutes, at the same pace, with those same chords dropping like
anchors and that same god damn chime ringing out. There are a couple of
moments where the song disintegrates into freakouts that sound like psych
rock on some terrible comedown. And you think the nightmare might be
eneding. But it isn’t. A couple of times that chime resumes, grinding away
at your consciousness. Then the last section arrives, all wild feedback and
the sounds of a guitar being turned inside out over tribal drumming. The
bile spills forth, even more intense, even more depraved. It’s viscous,
I can’t in all good conscience recommend Failures to anyone. What kind of
person would that make me? It’s nigh on 40 minutes of sonic debasement, of
aural punishment the likes of which interrogators at the most remote
no-holds-barred extraordinary rendition centre would balk at playing to
their detainees/victims. But I will say this – it’s the best thing Khünnt
have put to tape yet. They’ve taken a step back, given themselves more room
to breathe rather than burying their work in more traditional guitar
assault. In doing so they’ve created something that much more focused and
unsettling. With a 10 year retrospective coming out soon there’s a sense
that Khünnt are entering a new phase in their evolution. If that’s the case,
and they continue going down this road and getting better at it, then god
help us all.
ECHOES AND DUST
The delightfully monikered Khünnt is comprised of members from Pigs Pigs
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and Blown Out, so straight away you know this is
NOT going to be a pastoral folk number reminiscent of an autumn wander
through the woods. What it is is heavy to the point of collapsing in on
itself, but this heaviness, in itself, has a hypnagogic vibe that makes this
Riot Season release strangely relaxing.
Initially built on repetition; a simple guitar chord repeats over some heavy
duty drone and the fuzzing of feedback and distortion with some spacey
effects thrown in for good measure. This becomes truly hypnotic and you find
yourself drifting off in a haze of crackles and hum. The reverie is broken
with a guttural scream and everything is lifted up a notch. The repetition
continues but the wailing of lost souls provide backing vocals to the doom
laden riff. This is not a ‘feel good’ album, but it is compelling,
especially if you are a fan of all things slow’n’heavy. Things progress
nicely in this hellish manner; the diabolical maelstrom providing the
soundtrack to infernal torment. A breakdown in proceedings, all distortion,
feedback and wails, heralds a change in tack....the guitars become heavier,
gradually building in intensity. The feedback is cranked up as well,
drowning out the ever present demonic vocals. The frenetic pace is at stark
contrast to the doomy start..building and building, the tension is palpable.
It all climaxes in a glorious cacophony of guitars, drums, screams and fuzz.
When it all finishes you are left feeling breathless and yet strangely
‘Failures’ is not an album for the faint-hearted...it is heavy, in places
dissonant and always carrying the threat of subterranean evil...but it is
frankly pretty ace if you like this kind of thing. With the musical heritage
of the players, it’s hardly surprising that it is all accomplished with a
tightness and focus that keeps it from becoming a morass of noise. Oh, and
don’t play it when Great Aunt Mabel is visiting. Pre-orders for 'Failures'
are up now on the Riot Seasonwebstore and Bandcamp sites, and is available
as standard vinyl and also a limited mail order only edition with a bonus
DAYZ OF PURPLE AND ORANGE
The delightfully named Khünnt’s new release, Failures, is a 37-odd minute
outpouring of gruelling stomach acid. By gruelling, I mean it sounds like
being dipped head-first into a medieval well filled with ripe faecal sewage
and pug-wash, as baying decrepit onlookers throw fresh fruit and rotting
vegetables at your naked, spasming, vertically hung torso.
For those unfamiliar with the smoky doom of Khünnt here’s a very brief
history. The band, which formed in 2006, is made up of members of noisy,
psychedelicists Blown Out and dirge pounders Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
Pigs. That alone should give you a certain handle on what Khünnt sound
like – if not, check out the violent doom of 2013’s Brazen Bull or their
2014 self-titled album (Khünnt, obviously).
Released on the ever-dependable Riot Season records, Failures consists of
one long continuous track which tests and baits the listener at every grubby
turn. The first 10 minutes comprise a slow attrition groove. Building around
a repetitive monotone guitar strum, the entire track eventually envelops the
listener like swill quicksand. Its sound resembles the clitter-clang of
steel armour crashing into harsh metal.
Then after the 10-minute mark the vocals kick in and from here-on much bad
shit doth happen. The evil track takes violent umbrage with god knows what
and starts flaying everything in its masturbation-deprived sight, its ugly,
boiled face grunting and gurning in joy with every whack of each delicate
skull it encounters.
The vocals land somewhere between disturbed pig-like squealing and the sound
of someone trying to force their internal organs out of their throat through
the sheer force of sound alone. The feeling of the whole track is one of
being hung, drawn and quartered. Then cut up into even littler pieces and
fed to hungry dogs.
Khünnt’s total control of abject, repetitive noise may put people off, this
much is true. But if you’re going to listen to a band called ‘Khünnt’ what
the fuck were you expecting? For any sick goyt that wants the aural
equivalent of being flogged by a pointy-hatted cunt then Failures should do
nicely indeed. Its bile vomit is injected deep into your ears by a medieval
wankstain. Kicking and biting you repeatedly, and not in any way sensually,
in whatever genitalia you may have.
Failures doesn’t so much evolve or progress over its span so much as swell
and throb into existence like a fat lip.
As the track ends in scratchy, howling noise and guttural bellowing you come
to realise it’s not one to listen to in the morning on your commute to work.
It’ll just make you want to eat all of the letters on your keyboard and shit
them out into a faecal sentence, which will coincidentally spell out the
So yeah, Failures is an unbridled success in replicating the exhaustive
sense of being dunked into a wooden barrel of sloshing piss-water as a bunch
of slack-jawed bullock-chops stand by waiting to pick through your pockets
once the life has left your brutalised body. It’s unpleasant, uncompromising
and vile. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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