Artist: ๛ (Komootra)
Album: ๛ (Self-Titled)
Label: อนัตตา มไหศวรรย์ – Non Self Supremacy
Release Date: February 3rd, 2023
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
When you see a raw black metal album with cover art like this you just know it’s going to be good, and Thailand’s ๛ (Komootra) did not disappoint. This is some raw, occult black metal that should please even the most discerning of purists. There are no symphonic elements, no progressive flourishes, but what you will find is atmosphere laden funeral doom, drone and harsh noise elements that create a swirling vortex of snarling misanthropic abuse.
The band brings a unique twist to the more traditional black metal tropes of occultism, tying in traditional Siamese practices and themes. The duo expertly creates a sonic atmosphere that evokes those occult themes in the listener’s mind, as bestial screeches and howls swirl and scrape over biting distorted guitars and ritualistic drum work.
This is an album where the artwork perfectly captures the essence of the music, desolate, harsh, dark and unfamiliar. At times the only way I can describe the music is bestial, as rabid shrieks and howls emanate out of distorted wailing riffs and harsh feedback. This is an album that can and will make you uneasy as a listener, pushing you to your limits over the length of its drawn-out tracks. But just as you are nearing breaking point from tension and abbrasive noise the band will change gears and hit you with crushing heaviness and a monolithic wall of noise as the funeral doom aspects come into play. The vocals now double down, adding what can only be described as demonic gutturals into the mix to bounce off of the bestial shrieks and howls. To further develop the occult undertones on the album you’ll find almost ritualistic vocals that sound almost like throat singing sprinkled in here and there.
The layering and mastering on the album are honestly genius, it creates a completely suffocating atmosphere that slowly beats down the listener to an eventual point of surrender. No matter how strong you may be, this album will slowly chip away at your will, your psyche, until just as when dealing with otherworldly entities you succumb to their demonic oppression.
The second track Praying For Serenity (Under The Arms Of Ashened Skies), a monolithic offering coming in at over 17 minutes, gives us an even more serious focus on drone, harsh noise and dark ambient elements. Vast segments of the track are made up of haunting atmosphere, feedback loops and textured haunting elements. Whispered shrieked vocals emanate out of this concoction of haunting sound, coming across as truly creepy and unsettling. After what feels like an eternity of punishment the track develops into a more funeral doom style offering, with slow lumbering riffs and a depressive atmosphere. This too gives way to a maelstrom of furious raw black metal riffage, drumming and vocals around the 2/3 mark. Let me also just clarify that at no point in this process has the feedback lifted, it’s still just there, assaulting our ears as we push ever forward into the abyss.
Overall this one hell of an album and can be pretty safely declared to be the most oppressive and abbrasive album that I’ve listened to so far this year, being rivaled only by Khanate’s new masterpiece To Be Cruel, but for very different reasons. This album shows me that the Thai black metal scene is something that deserves far more respect and attention than it is currently receiving. So, take the plunge and let ๛ abuse you today.
Listen to and order the album: