Notes From Underground

Album Review: DRAGHKAR – The Endless Howling Abyss

Craneo Negro Records / Nameless Grave Records - 27 July 2018

DRAGHKARWhen thinking of underground brutal old school Death Metal, one probably does not first list Los Angeles. Despite this fact, LA has had its share of stellar Metal acts over the years. Does anyone else remember World Downfall by Terrorizer? Draghkar is one such band, and The Endless Howling Abyss is a punishingly aggressively, shit-kicker of an EP. The music is sinister like a shadow keenly staking its master, always just out of reach. There’s also a stomp quality to the songs as the “one” beat is often hit upon by all in enthusiasm. It does not get much rawer, and the intimate setting allows one to really feel the music.

“Traversing the Abyss” opens the album with the classic feel of old school Death Metal. This is music minted from an obsession with the genre. The recording is quite dense as well which allows for the previously mentioned intimate setting. One feels in the room with the band yet there is no feedback or amp hum and hiss. Rarely, a band comes along to really nail the feeling of a particular period of music and mix in their own originality.

The last track is titled “Fading Into Emptiness,” and starts with a unique dissonant guitar riff that turns into both solid and tremolo-picked chords. Closing one’s eyes transports the listener to their own “Metal” place where the mind dwells with imagination. The music has a very blackened aspect to it with the furiously strummed chords. The clean vocals at the end are an intriguing twist as they bemoan the bleak and barren.

Any fan of old school Death Metal would dig this record. While it conjures images of ’92, it is still its own entity as it churns out the no-frills evil riffs. The vocals are nothing to surpass the normal Death Metal material. It is a pleasure to be able to hear the bass, its string rumbling, vibrating from the fast playing. The guitar tone is at one with the sinister character of the songs, a tribute to the genre’s past blackened up and fried.

It is always rewarding to discover a younger band such as this. The band’s drive and dedication are apparent within the music. The songwriting, while traditional, includes ample flare adding to the varied appeal of the work. My mind personally kept returning to the feeling of first hearing Cradle of Filth as their early material such as The Principle of Evil Made Flesh had a Death Metal vibe with its various long arrangements of blackened melodic tenacity and the occasional breakdown. With this being their debut EP, now is the best time to direct some attention to the band. At just four songs, it properly introduces the band’s intentions without overstaying its welcome. It can be thought of as a sampler of hopefully more brutal, intense evil yet to come.

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