I have a soft spot for Ukrainian bands. My grandparents emigrated from Ukraine in the early part of the 20th Century to Canada and then the United States. While I am American, I consider myself to be Ukrainian at heart. Khors
is a true Ukrainian band in that all the song titles and lyrics for their albums
are in Ukrainian. Don't let that stop you from enjoying their new album "І ніч схиляється до наших лиць" which translates as "Night Falls onto the Fronts of Ours." The title reflects the band's relentless and powerful attack.
The song "Нi клятв, нi слiз, нi колiн!" kicks off the album and serves notice that they mean business for sure. They have elements of very early Opeth: plenty of riffs, solid melodic guitar lines and sharp, harsh vocals. Part of the reason that the language barrier doesn't matter is that you can feel the anger and venom in all of the vocals. It suits the music perfectly. Another nice touch to songs like "Долина мертвих птахiв" are the atmospheric keyboards that add texture to the start of the song and fill out the song as it kicks in.
"Шляхом кривавих дорiг" is next up and has a VERY melodic guitar line to start before it yields to a wall of guitars. Khors know the power of a good riff and how to let the listener breathe. Too many extreme metal bands think the answer to everything is a non-stop barrage of blast beats but Khors would rather have a solid groove that everyone can easily back their heads to. The title track is next and it is a quieter yet still powerful instrumental. Very dark but beautiful at the same time. "1664" is another fierce track with some of the most gutteral vocals on the album.
"Востаннє" has lots of atmosphere for being a heavier song. It's one of the few tracks that I could hear having clean vocals but that's not what Khors is about. And really it is a minor point, since the vocals are still not quite as harsh as the other tracks. It's one of my favorite tracks on the album. "Струнке павутиння самотності" has some very good riffs and yet another awesome groove to it.
The closer "Мiй козацький шлях" has an almost swing to it, like a good viking metal track would have. A fitting close to an excellent album. Khors are a great band regardless of language and hopefully metal fans will not be intimidated by the language barrier. Maybe we all should just learn Ukrainian!