Khors – Mysticism (Paragon Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Hard to peg this one down, something we’ve grown accustomed to when tackling the wide assortment of bands on Paragon Records. Khors call the Ukraine home and claim black metal is their forte, but that might be a tad misleading, as Mysticism shouldn’t limit itself to being tied in with the rest of BM goons and clowns.

What it is, is the type of BM that Agathodaimon rolled out in the late 90’s; it’s more reserved than it should be and lays off the speed, yet each of Mysticism’seight cuts have something of value. In fact, the Gothic metal undertones cultivated in “Raven’s Dance” and “In the Cold Embrace of Mist” are quite memorable, bolstered by a crisp, jagged production job that again, reminds one of Agathodaimon or Graveworm.

Gut-wrenching acoustic guitars highlight “Pagan Scars” and “Red Mirrors” while delicate keyboard tinklings add a wreath of darkness around “Milk of Heavens” and “Mysticism.” The band proves itself to be formidable songwriters, thus resisting the temptation to speed things up, which would probably soil this well-plotted land of Gothic BM gravestones.

Across the board, Mysticism gets high praise here, as it’s the type of release that ultimately props up black metal and keeps the subgenre fresh and varied. However, don’t mistake this as your dyed-in-the-wool Cradle of Filth “Goth” BM outing – this is darkness, a dish best served cold, Ukrainian-style.

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