Lord of the Rings and metal music have had a long lasting relationship. Bands like Blind Guardian, Gorgoroth, and the grandfathers themselves – Black Sabbath have beautifully added themes from the beloved fantasy world into their music. In all honesty, that’s barely scratching the surface of partnership of metal and this particular setting.
However, the time has come to bring nerdom to another level! Enter Khazaddum. I shit you not when I say this is a LOTR influenced Technical Death Metal band proclaiming influence from the likes of Nile, Morbid Angel, and Behemoth. If that doesn’t pique the nerd senses, I’m not sure what will. Furthermore, when you put it all together and it actually turns out really well!
Khazaddum emerged from the mines of Moria in 2014 (aka the Second Age) to grace this unworthy realm with a cutting metallic sound (axe?). They did this first when they launched the three song EP “In Dwarven Halls” which was, frankly, solid.
Now, they’re back again with their first full-length effort! It goes by the name of “Plagues Upon Arda” and it is truly awesome from start to finish. Asuage your doubts of gimmickry and press that damn play button! Even if you’re not a fan of the world J.R.R. Tolkien crafted (what’s wrong with you?), this is a solid Technical Death Metal record.
There are a number of memorable, high quality tracks to be found here as if they were forged by the dwarves in a past age. Tracks like the massive intro “The Halls of Khazad-Dum” transitioning flawlessly into “The Deathless Crown”, “Lord of Isengard”, “The Black Hand of Gorthaur”, “Masters of the Plains” and the closer “Oathbreaker’s Curse” stick out in my mind but they’re all worth a listen.
From a critical standpoint, it’s hard to find much at fault with this LP. If anything, one could say it’s not most original album ever made. But even then, it kind of feels like a breath of fresh air with the nice touches of fantasy atmosphere. Maybe that’s just my inner nerd talking but whatever – I really enjoyed “Plagues Upon Arda”! Well done, Khazaddum!
To those who are interested, the record is currently available for purchase over on Bandcamp where it appears the band released the effort independently – an accomplishment within itself! You can also listen to some music via streams up above. If you enjoy the tunes, be sure to show these Middle Earth folk some love and support.
Final verdict… One does not simply listen to Khazaddum \m/