Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HMT Dual Track by Track Review of Eternal Khan's A Poisoned Psalm

A Poisoned Psalm
Eternal Khan

When I reached out to Eternal Khan last week about interviewing the band about their upcoming album "A Poisoned Psalm" they were gracious enough to send us a download of the cd to review. As I often do when I have a new interview coming up and need some expert advice I hit up Professor Fork Tongue, the in-house underground metal expert. He immediately pitched me an idea to do a dual track by track review for the cd. So here it is. I'm extremely happy at how it came out and it feeds off what Prof. Fork Tongue and I had collaborated on when we first started this site. If there is any band that deserves the special treatment and care that we gave each song on this cd, it is Eternal Khan. This  is just the tip of the iceberg as I will be posting later on this week our interview with the band. Great guys, great music and they are just a stones throw away from Heavy Metal Textbooks headquarters. Check these guys out and definitely pre order this cd. Now on to our review.

Bells on the Black Hour

Grownman - This song based on the Salem Witch Trials. Gotta love that very ominous intro. Sounds like a funeral march. I'll probably say this throughout this review but it definitely would make for a great score to an old school horror movie. Love the galloping guitars and the first generation Death metal feel to this. This is the song that originally got me hooked on the band.

Prof. Fork Tongue - The thing like I enjoy most about this band is I instantly know it's them as soon as it comes on. That's rare these days. I love the synopsis of each song that comes with the download. I hope it's also in the CD notes. It's fairly common in metal but I also love the intelligent lyrics. I made mention in previous reviews of this band to Faustcoven and Negative Plane and I don't hear that anymore. I'm not sure they were ever an influence but that's what they conjured up in my mind. Now they just conjure up Eternal Khan. That's the sign of a good band. Love the dropped out outro.

Raging Host

Grownman - The production on this album is incredible. Eternal Khan definitely have their own signature sound. A great song about a Spectral Horde riding across the sky. I absolutely love how the vocalist phrases the lyrics "No refuge in the dark wood". Something about it every time I hear it triggers this response in my brain and I just wanna head bang.The combination of the speedy picking and those crashing symbols really give this song that cold wintry atmosphere. You can almost feel a cold breath riding down your spine.

Prof. Fork Tongue - Love the middle eastern style drums that run through this song. There's a couple great sounding transitions in here which seems to be a strength of the band. I prefer when these guys slow it down which they do a bit in spots on the song. Again. the lyrics are fantastic throughout the album and so are the drums which were both done by D.Murphy. I love the guitar and vocals too don't get me wrong but drums are something I never really notice but I'm noticing them so that's somewhat new for me.

Undermined and Abandoned

Grownman - A tune based on the existential quandary of why we're here and what the hell to do with that realization. This band has amazing timing and rhythm. Love that each song takes you on a journey and the songs have these crazy twists and turns.

Prof. Fork Tongue - A great thing about the guitar work with these guys is that they never sacrifice atmosphere for riffs or vice versa. I love both but combining the two well is tough and they do it exceptionally well. The line "At odds with the nature of our nature. Tragically self-aware." is a great line and I love the cadence at which it's delivered.

The Tower

Grownman - This is absolutely my favorite track on the album. The intro reminds me of something off Danzig's 4 album. Any comparison's to the Evil Elvis rhythm section is coincidental. This isn't about the Gods Killing...this is about their complete disdain for humanity.The low and slow bluesy strum transitions into really beautiful atmospheric riffs. Hammering drums and the lightning fast picking that quickly come into play bring to mind a scene from Godzilla. Throngs of people just running away from a godlike monster that's just glaring down at them with rage and disgust. I'm probably reading too much into this, no? 

Prof. Fork Tongue - The gods may have been disappointed when humans couldn't actualize their potential but I'm not disappointed in this song. Best track on the album hands down. What a great intro. Again, I love when these guys slow it it down, always the highlight in my eyes. When it picks up I can't help but head bang while I'm typing. Your gods have left The Tower.

The Black Stork

Grownman - Thanks to Professor Fork Tongue for filling me on what this song is about. This song is fast and brooding. The acidic vocal delivery of each line along with the grand scale of the song structure makes you feel like your walking down the long corridor of an abandoned hospital. The chords during the last 30 seconds of the song are really beautiful and somber like a sad lullaby.

Prof. Fork Tongue - I've done deep, deep research into eugenics so when I saw the title of the song I pretty much knew where this was going. To make it short and sweet I'll quote a little something I wrote about the movie "The Black Stork" of which the song is based on. "In 1917, Hollywood produced The Black Stork, a story about a mismatched couple who are counseled by a doctor against having children. However, the couple become pregnant anyway and the woman gives birth to a defective child that she allows to die. The deceased baby’s spirit then ascends into the arms of Jesus Christ. Hailing it as a "eugenic love story" in publicity ads, the eugenic movement had its own propaganda film at last, and it promoted The Black Stork throughout the nation.It’s catch-phrase: “Kill Defectives, Save the Nation and See ‘The Black Stork.” Not quite “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World,” but close. Dr. Haiselden, then famous in eugenics circles for his baby-killing ways in Chicago, played himself as the doctor in the film." Anyway onto the song. Once again really great lyrics seemingly through pro eugenics glasses. I don't mean that as a knock either, that's what you do when you write songs. People take stuff too literal sometimes. Really great somber ending as Grownman said, almost like a "sad lullaby".

Void of Light and Reconciliation

Grownman - Hearing this makes me want to unsheathe a sword and storm a castle. Something really medieval about the tone and rhythm. This is another amazing tune. I wanna hear this as a score over a movie about an evil king. This song perfectly captures the transformation of the mind and it's descent into evil. The rage in the delivery of the vocals and the overall composition of the song really illustrate the story. I absolutely love how much range the band has and the tools they have at their disposal. To think this is only three musicians and how immense of a sound they can get out of all the transitions they come up with. There is not one song on this album that just stays the course. Eternal Khan strive on each track to outdo themselves.

Prof. Fork Tongue - I read the lyrics before reading the synopsis and what I came up with was "a darkness is creeping up ever so slowly and when it takes hold it obliterates all". After reading the synopsis that's pretty much what it was. I thought about it in a literal sense but it's more of "a negative and repressed aspect of one's personality reemerging on its own terms to the detriment and shock of the unsuspecting subject" which is essentially the same as what I was thinking just from a different angle. That's a sign of great writing right there.

Into the Twilight Abysses

Grownman - Based on a HP Lovecraft "The Dreams in the Witch House". Take my money. One of my favorite Gothic horror writers, H.P. Lovecraft hailed from Providence, RI, home base of Eternal Khan. This makes me very happy. The song captures all the drama of the story and I really wish someone would adapt it to a movie so this could be it's lead score. Love how the chords are like the angles in the character Gilman's room. They draw you in while the bass, percussion and vocals hint at the void that waits behind it all. There is drama and adventure at every turn.

Prof. Fork Tongue - Take away my metal card, I don't know shit about Lovecraft. Could never get into fiction, shoot me. This may be my second favorite track of the album and the one that most reminds me of their EP "A Primitive History", which I also loved.

Conclusion: An amazing album back to front that finds the band fully realizing their own sound. The exceptional cover art and extras make this a must own. 

D.Murphy - drums, lyrics T.Phrathep - guitar
N.Wood - guitar, vocals

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