Review: Kosmokrator – Through Ruin… Behold

Kosmokrator – Through Ruin… Behold (Van Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

I thought we were done with hooded avengers on the Black Metal scene. Well, not so much hooded avengers. More like bank robbers under the pantyhose. Anyway, ‘the trend’ is here and it is here to stay. Much like corpse paint, it is slowly becoming a trademark appearance among the Black Metal musicians. So, jokes aside, let’s stare through the ruins.

Kosmokrator comes from Belgium and this is their full length debut. Behind a majestically painted cover there are 7 tracks of cryptic survey into the crumbling state of human existence.

The first thing to be mentioned is the depth of the overall sound. Kosmokrator sounds as if they are actually playing at the bottom of an abyss, calling the exhausted souls to dive. At first glance they reminded me of Necros Christos with their down tuning and general theme of the record. The main difference between them being that “Through Ruin… Behold” is much less articulate. The album exudes absolute chaos through music, delving into Black Metal more often than with the mentioned Germans. Bringing forth the Doom Metal references and even sliding into Drone is another feat of this record. Catatonic feelings easily encircle these 46 minutes and more as it works brilliantly with the ‘repeat’ mode on. Somehow I pity those who elected to go for the vinyl version as I’m sure that flipping the record might just ruin the mood.

These five guys are nowhere near showing off their musicianship skills. Nothing on this record is put in front of something else. Every note played serves a purpose, since the atmosphere is key to this release. As usual with this kind of music, bass guitar is given a prominent position, never hiding or cowering from the guitars or drums. Drums have used their share of space (again) with some deep tones and diverse patterns serving as gateways to rituals untold while guitars serve a mesmerizing array of hypnotic riffs and leads. Vocals are convincing enough though far from outstanding. Still, the voices have an honest approach with just the right amount of reverb to enrich the aura that must encircle the listener. While the songs are long and there is not too much stuff going on inside each of them, their repetitiveness does not dull the sharpness of the album. They offer more of a psychedelic vision and still head towards an obvious goal with the more observant audience.

“Through Ruin… Behold” is not easy to swallow, nor should it be. It serves you up with a grim thought of existence, or lack thereof. It grants infinite possibilities if you let it, however, none of them are bright. Devotees should adore it!

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