Konkhra – Alpha And The Omega (Hammerheart Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj
The rule in Serbian language states that you should write as you hear. Literally, speak as it is spelled. I thought this is something like that. Simple pronunciation of the word ‘conqueror’. It might even be true, I don’t know, I haven’t found any explanation other than my own. And then my eye caught the information that this is a ‘comeback album’. I had an instant feeling something will be wrong here.
Going back to the past for a while (for quite a long while) this band was formed in 1988, but the current name came into the picture two years later. I’m guessing Vicious Circle was taken. Konkhra was active up until 2009, releasing 6 full length albums and a bunch of shorter stuff in between. Even a live album and a VHS. I’m going to take a wild guess and claim they have (or at least had) a decent reputation on the Danish scene. However, this is my first meeting with the band.
I should’ve tried the earlier recordings…
Konkhra fell for every trap modern music has hidden away for those not careful enough. First of all, a band needs to offer much more than presented here if they intend on putting out a 55 minute long album. In the end, “Alpha And The Omega” sounds like a long road to nowhere. Another thing is that I can’t seem to shake the feeling this album is overproduced and therefore lost a lot of the roughness necessary with music like this. By the way, we are talking about the classical European Death Metal, sprinkled with some modern Metalcore touches. Thrash Metal jumps in from time to time, but that is it. Brutal music, aggressive, diverse enough, but it lacks a ‘hook’. The entire thing just washes off the listener as soon as the album finishes. In short, Konkhra is an example of a name which would’ve been much better off left to its (glorious) history.
Now, they did try to make something of this. For instance, the second song, “Thoth”, has some chanting in the back of a slow and heavy rhythm pounding and growling vocals. The quartet certainly had some ideas which work fine. The problem is, they are few and far between, so any sort of momentary success is soon lost among the mediocrity.
The musicianship is excellent throughout which is to be expected from an experienced squadron of musicians, but the overall creativeness is lacking. Apart of the excellent cover artwork, not a lot is left on “Alpha And The Omega” to admire. There are some decent technical variations and the music displayed here isn’t without the traditional brutality or groove. It could be the case of the years just showing off their ugly face. Forcing out a full length (and with that length nonetheless) instead of going with a short EP was a bad idea. If nothing else, then just to test the audience’s reaction.
There were a whole lot of comebacks over the years but just a handful were successful. Whatever the reason was for this quartet to resurrect, it should’ve been thought out much better. If the plan is to continue their activity, then the next output must be improved a lot.