Friday, May 6, 2016

Khroma - Stasis (2016)

When I first heard this one from Finnish industrial metallers Khroma, I really wasn't all that interested in it. “Brace Yourself” was just a bunch of djent and harsh vocals with some shoegazy melodies thrown in. The same could have also been said for “A Simple Lie” with some exceptions. But as I listened, I noticed these guys slowly working themselves out of the “djent band” corner by changing their approach a bit more with each song. When I got to “Wrong” I wasn't even hearing quite as many djent grooves and when I was, they didn't sound quite so damn formulaic. There were even sections here where the atmosphere becomes a major listening point and even clean vocals came into play (which work to remind me a little of Sybreed's latter work. Unfortunately, this is the only time that we really hear clean vocals on the album.) Now I do realize that some people might have a problem with the rapping apparent on “The Push” but honestly, I'd prefer anything but standard djent. The band definitely have a modern sound, but they've also got a bite. “Hydra” changed things up a little as well, almost trading djent riffs completely for electronic atmospheres. If we can get more of that, and less of these djent riffs on the next record, I feel that I could really embrace these guys. I don't actually have that big of a problem with djent, it's just that many bands who consider themselves to be electronic, futurist or robotic seem to think that they have to use djent riffs in order to sound that way, and that is simply NOT TRUE. It has never been true, and never will be true. “Acid On Skin” also changes things on that level, showing great evolution from the band in this realm. Again, even if you don't like the overall vocal delivery and find a little bit too rambunctious for your tastes, you definitely have to admire the fact that these guys are at least trying to be an electronic act and not just another djent act. There are obvious core influences and it feels like less of a metal performance overall, but I can't say that I hate what's going on here and would actually recommend it – but only to the right listener. I see no need to take you through the entire disc as it all carries a similar feel, though I will reiterate that I do think that what I've heard here is in fact promising. Perhaps the vocals feel a little bit like a cross between Nu-Metal and post metal, but I think it's just good enough to get it's point across. I really hope that in the future these guys will do just a little more on the guitar than just the djent stuff though, because they have the potential to do so much more and stand out there as an electronic band who don't feel the need to have to force these nuanced djent riffs in order to sound electronic. We don't need more Meshuggah's, we need more innovators in this style of music. I really hope that Khroma can work their way out of this box, because they're nearly three-fourths of the way out as it is.

(9 Tracks, 37:00)


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