KHOMA – A Final Storm

square-200Khoma is really a hard nut to crack when it comes to categorise their music. Are they metal? Prog? Hard rock?  I have to admit that the kind of progressive, slow, cold and dark kind of metal or hard rock that Khoma play usually doesn’t rock my world at all, but for some reason, I have a soft spot for this band. My first acquaintance with the band was when they, under the name of Koma, opened up a gig for fellow Swedes Captain Murphy. A weird choice when you consider the fact that Captain Murphy are a classic rock band and works in a totally different genre than this band. However, Khoma (Koma) put on a great show and their somewhat complicated music stuck right away with me. Of course, I had no choice but to buy their debut CD, Tsunami  (2004) that they sold at the gig and after that I became a full-blown Khoma fan. Their last effort, Second Wave, came out in 2006, an album that really knocked me for six. I really didn’t think that the band would be able to top a masterpiece like Tsunami, but they sure did. Since then, however, things have been awfully quiet – just a couple of gigs and then complete silence. So when A Final Storm was finally released it seemed to appear out of the blue. Apparently the members – Jan Jämte (lead vocals), Johannes Persson (guitars) and Fredrik Kihlberg (guitars, piano, vocals) – deliberately took their time to write and record the music in quietness to make sure the results would be to their satisfaction, a result they now in 2010 will show the world.

Normally, as I wrote above, I have issues with this kind of music. It never seems to stick and it doesn’t take long before it bores the skull of out me. The music is dark, slow, sometimes hard, sometimes heavy, sometimes soft and sometimes all three, but never ever catchy enough to make things stick. But for me, Khoma is a different beast. Their music does stick and the epic surroundings makes just for a better sound scape. And by the sound that I’m hearing on this album, it’s no different to how they sound on their last two albums. Opening track and first single “Army Of One” is a heavy piece of music, dark, but still with some catchiness and I wouldn’t be surprised if this song was to be given some heavy airplay. ”Osiris” is beautiful and smooth, yet heavy and hard and aggressive – totally unpredictable but with a brilliant melody.  The title track ”A Final Storm” is also heavy, with a great melody that is almost catchy, “In It For Fighting” has an almost commercial melody and it goes really pop, but on the other hand, it’s has a hard and cold beat. The song really benefits from the contrast and ”By The Gallows”, a slow, heavy number is just great. But best of all, which is a bit of a surprise, is ”Mist”, a huge, instrumental track. It’s really fantastic and despite no vocals and the song’s length, it never for a second gets dull.

The album is just as good as its predecessor, if not better and even though the music is totally uncommercial and it takes a little while and a bunch of listens to get it, I think the band, if marketed right, should have a big chance at making it big. They might not be for the average commercial radio listener, but if given the right treatment and patience there is a lot to offer for everyone who’s into rock out there. I just wonder where they will go from here – and how to top this one.

9/10

Tracklist:

1. Army Of One
2. From The Hands Of Sinners
3. Harvest
4. Osiris
5. A Final Storm
6. Inquisition
7. The Tide
8. All Like Serpents
9. In It For Fighting
10. By The Gallows
11. Mist

Advertisements