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Khann - Tofutopia (8/10) - USA - 2007

Genre: Grindcore / Progressive Death Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Playing time: 49:03
Band homepage: Khann

Tracklist:

  1. Meteor
  2. Himalayan Green
  3. Pralay
  4. Anodynic Spheres
  5. Cleanse
  6. Black Water Permeates
  7. Charisma
  8. Bird
  9. Tofutopia
  10. Quarantined
  11. Silver Mouth
  12. Leeches
  13. Volcanic Lungs Part I
  14. Volcanic Lungs Part II
  15. Apprehension
  16. Ignorance
  17. Squall
  18. Lament
  19. The Lone Hum
  20. Untitled
  21. Untitled
  22. Untitled
  23. Untitled
Khann - Tofutopia

One of the major drawbacks to Grindcore, or any genre in “extreme music,” is that a band can become sonically monotonous, even with the use of short albums and even shorter songs. With unexpected cleverness and talent, KHANN, on their curiously-titled album "Tofutopia," manages to avoid this pitfall swimmingly. Even at the most tertiary inspection, one can see that KHANN endeavors to set itself apart. Songs range in length from the thirty-five second blast of “Himalayan Green” to the six and a half minute winding journey of violence that is “Volcanic Lungs Part I” (the final track, “The Lone Hum,” is over nine minutes, but more than half of that is dissonant noise). The more epic-length tracks allow the band to create musical movement- highs and lows-rather than attempt to discharge its way through the entire album. In “Anodynic Spheres,” the song oscillates from mellow interludes, slower and more Death Metal-sounding portions, and then enters into an accelerated a Grindcore onslaught. These various tactics make the faster and more vicious sounds seem all the more exhilarating.   

 

It is this range of auditory explorations that makes "Tofutopia" so refreshing. On songs such as “Squall,” guitar parts that sound as if they are ripped from a Post Rock album overlay otherwise brutal instrumentation and harsh vocals. Here, KHANN is able to flip more than one genre on its head simultaneously, creating something unique in the process. "Tofutopia" is full of such audacious examples and the listener can tell that the band had as much fun making them as it is to hear them on the album. The phrase “Progressive Grindcore” might seem like a contradiction in terms, but it’s hard to argue with success.

(Online February 15, 2008)

John Arminio



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