Khaossos- “Eksistentialismi”

Khaossos- Eksistentialismi

As we enter December, one of the most common sentiments I’ve seen from other music writers is that this has been a relatively unexciting year in black metal. These folks also seem to be receiving less contact with artists like Khaossos. This isn’t a knock on my peers so much as it is a commentary on the year in releases from larger acts. It’s true that not many prominent extreme releases have excited me much this year, but albums like Eksistentialismi have appeared out of the void to inspire hope for the future of a genre I love so dearly. I don’t expect that Khaossos (or any one group really) will single-handedly “save” black metal, but as genre’s popularity increases thanks to many popular acts incorporating “blackened” elements into their music, it’s refreshing to see a group keeping a traditional atmosphere while still doing something engaging and creative.

There are certain things that just click with me no matter how often I hear them. Starting with nature sounds of any sort works pretty well for me, as long as it’s followed by quality. The brief moment of howling wind before “Kieroutnut Valo” kicks things off sets my mind to a colder, darker place, ready to be lead on a scathing adventure of crackling black metal with buzzsaw drum production, jagged riffs, and sparse but effective vocal placement. Eksistentialismi‘s six tracks each take a slightly different approach, but the album is quite consistent in its precision. Pacing and atmosphere do not remain as constants, as the album’s shifts in mood allow for the listener to become fully enveloped, following Khaossos deeper. Many times there is an intense feeling that the hypnotic passages created by Khaossos (like the chilling close of “Harhainen”) are the last refuge from an impending storm, the sonic equivalent of burrowing into the snow to avoid the cold. While sometimes the album can become overwhelming in the length and pulsing of the songs, that seems to be the point. Pushing into and through something painful is sometimes the only way to make peace with it. Eksistentialismi is every excruciating second of endurance and the eventual conquering, culminating in the majesty of closing dirge “Jumala On Kuollut.”

There are copies of Eksistentialismi on both compact disc and cassette tape available from the Khaossos bandcamp. The tape is highly limited, with only ten copies created, but the CD appears to be in a more manageable run, allowing access for anybody interested in embracing the fury and desolation.