Khanate - Clean Hands Go Foul
Hydra Head
Ambient Drone
4 songs (1:00:09)
Release year: 2009
Hydra Head
Reviewed by Goat

The thud of a drum and a hateful scream are the first things that you hear when listening to Clean Hands Go Foul, and things don't get much more cheerful from then on. Khanate have always lurked over at the nasty end of Drone away from the leftfield Sunn O))) and their dimensional trips, preferring to scrabble in filth and worship the dirty white noise that resonates at the bottom of the various clangs and screams that form the frontal attack of the band's sound. Clean Hands Go Foul is only the band's third full-length album, released after they split up, and it takes a slightly more ambient turn, creepier and weirder than its predecessors, although Alan Dubin's vocals are still present and correct and will still scare the shit out of any wandering Power Metal fan who happen to stumble on this.

Drone albums always have something of the elitist about them - you either love the genre, hate it, or are trying to get into it, and depending on which of these categories you fit in your reaction to Clean Hands Go Foul will vary. I can't see anyone actually going as far as loving this album, however - it's not the sort of music which commands the affections, but which is tolerated whenever you feel in the mood for some of its company. The opposite of the happy-go-lucky, outgoing and friendly likes of Hammerfall, Khanate are guaranteed to sit in the corner of any party and scowl ferociously at all, before burning the house down and ploughing the earth with salt, and it makes for music that's hard to recommend other than the experience. Clean Hands Go Foul's four tracks are impossible to describe in conventional 'there's a great riff, and then a solo' techniques; opener Wings From Spine is over six minutes long and is the shortest piece present, the tracks getting longer until the closing Every God Damn Thing really tests you with over thirty minutes of minimalist meandering - King Crimson at their quietest after overdosing on crack is the easiest way to sum it up. It's about as unsettling a listen as any piece of music ever made, yet unless you engage with it and are attuned to whatever cosmic force controls those kind of feelings, it may well seem like half an hour wasted.

An acquired taste, then, but even if the thought of spacing out to a thirty-minute long track doesn't appeal, the previous pieces should still wreak an effect. Wings From Spine features shrieks decipherable as 'angels are easily broken - and I broke one' with experimental drumming and guitar meanderings from Tim Wyskida and Stephen O'Malley respectively, setting the pace for the following In That Corner to... well, do much the same thing, albeit lyrics about domination and control. By the time the eleven-minute Clean My Heart rolls around, you'll know what the band are about, and really there's not much more that can be said. I described Khanate to a depressed friend as a band that would 'put the shit back in him', and it's hard to think of anything that could sum them up better - a harsh experience with a firm grasp of dynamics that will appeal to a select few. As a restrained swansong for the band Clean Hands Go Foul is terrific; from every other angle, it's terrifying.

Killing Songs :
Wings From Spine, In That Corner, Every God Damn Thing
Goat quoted 75 / 100
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