Plagues Upon Arda

Khazaddums‘ 2015, Dwarven/Tolkien themed EP, In Dwarven Halls was a solid, promising little 3 song demo/release, but I was not expecting quite this big of a leap in quality a mere 2 years later with the band’s full length debut.

Driving the massive improvement to the band’s brutal, Nile-ish death metal is the addition of full on orchestration and choirs, matching the epic sagas and battle of the source material. And while the sudden addition of synths to a band can indicate a number of negative connotations , here it fucking works to amazing effect (i.e “The Black Hand of Gorthaur”, “Masters of the Plains”).

While not Fleshgod Apocalypse levels, it’s darn close, though not as clean or clinical. Starting with the intro “The Halls of Khazad-dum”, where the band immediately let you know they are now way more epic, the keys are a perfect complement to the earthy, blasting death metal, even more so considering the themes and lyrics. From “The Deathless Crown”, through “Lord of Isengard”, “Legion of the White Hand” and personal favorite “Shelob the Great”, to closer “Oathbreaker’s Curse” the album is a perfect balance of big, burly, blasting death metal with Luka Djordjevic’s authoritative growls and some great use of keys and choirs.

The only minuscule down side is the band has not quite penned that defining, signature, game changing track they can hang their hat on; a ‘To Dream of Ur”or “Unas, the Slayer of Gods” if you will, as the album careens (albeit impressively) by with very few refrains or truly memorable moments (“Oathbreaker’s Curse” comes sooo close). That said, Khazaddum is one of the more promising young, new, unsigned American death metal bands I have heard in a while, doing something unique, and I hope a label deservedly picks them up soon (Deepsend? Horror Pain Gore Death?).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
August 23rd, 2017


  1. Commented by: M Budziszewski

    Another hometown group. Two this month here. Great to see them get coverage. Shame on me for not stepping up but it’s good they get an unbiased review.

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