By Dr. Abner Mality

If you like crazy ass metal that creates its own world and establishes its own rules, this is something you need to get. The I, Voidhanger label is known as a great incubator of these “outsider” metal bands and they’ve hit the jackpot with Khanus.  These Finnish shamans have created a weird sonic alchemy that sounds like it was dreamed up by drugged up occultists who just discovered electric instruments. The good news is that while this is batshit crazy, it is not super-indulgent nonsense that drones on and on and disappears gradually up its own ass…for the most part. It is very much a metal album and the songs are not of the boring 15 minute plus behemoth variety.

How to describe it? The ritualistic influence is very heavy, with odd chants and primitive beats in evidence. I detect a strong Samael touch and also something of Greek bands like Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh. The name Celtic Frost is mentioned, but I don’t hear much of that at all. The resemblance there is one of kinship with another band that ignored rules. You know things are strange when the first track is a cover. It’s “Serpent’s Harvest” by Darkthrone, but the song is totally twisted through a Khanus lens. Vocals throughout are all over the place….from Mongolian throat singing to inhaled death metal growls to bizarre and rather comical incantations done in a super-dramatic, deep bass tone. On “The Uncreated”, which may be the weirdest of all the weird tracks here, the vocals become kind of silly, with rolled r’s and overpronounced words. Yet it all fits. There’s also some huge Gothic choirs that ring in and give an ecclesiastic sound….”Magick and Numbers” in particular features a lot of this.

Quirky is not the word, but it’s all heavy. I liked the strident, almost upbeat riffs of “Titan Souls”, which seems to feature Skeletor on vocals. “Ageless” starts with grumbling Mongolian throat singing but blasts forth with mighty drumming and heavy guitar. “Surrupu” is to the point, fast and almost “normal”…almost. It’s all rather delightful if you’re tired of the same old shit.

Eccentric outsider metal that doesn’t go completely out of control, this is the best I, Voidhanger release I’ve heard in a while.