Khazaddum - In Dwarven Halls
Self released
Death Metal
3 songs (15'42")
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Alex

JRR Tolkien might be one the most prominent authors featured in metal. His works, for sure, inspired many a band. Re-reading Lord of the Rings I found it interesting trying to assign a metal genre to various races populating Tolkien’s realms. The disgusting orcs and goblins are undoubtedly black metal, the stuck up elves are power melodic banner carriers, Rohan riders are probably folk, and tragic Gondor inhabitants represent gothic metal. What left to the dwarves is death metal, as these inhabitants of the underground mountain passages are tough and sturdy, and definitely possess some mean streak in them.

Milwaukee project turned full time band Khazaddum agrees with me, and they actually do themselves a great deal of service using the epic inspiration and certain melodic tendencies to distinguish Khazaddum from an army of other sprouting death metal teams. Why copy Morbid Angel one more time, even if you are rather proficient and skilled with your instruments? Khazaddum members, hailing from various unfamiliar to me death metal collectives from WI underground, put together a very cohesive and entertaining listen on their 3-track EP In Dwarven Halls.

Around 5 minutes per song, all compositions on the release have a good balance of heaviness and death metal technical playing aspects vs. melodic flow in them. Broken up by periodic spastic double bass beats or an occasional breakdown (which might drag just a tad too long in The Grey Thus Commands), Khazaddum weaves those downtuned melodies, indeed conjuring images of both adventure and violence which characterize the life, demise and possible hope for rebirth in the dwarven mountain kingdom. If I didn’t know the EP title, or the idea behind it, I would probably characterize the melodies on In Dwarven Halls as middle-Eastern inspired, providing Khazaddum with some Nile references. The dominating melody in Thorin Oakenshield is downright Egyptian, but serves the dwarf king well.

Luka Djordjevic guttural grunts are not of the most bottom seeking variety, but plumbing the lowest end or disgusting brutality is not needed for Khazaddum plot. The whole EP sound is focused not to overdo the harsh aspect of the music, to be able for the listener to follow melodic storyline. In Dwarven Halls is no melodic death by any means, and is firmly rooted in USDM traditions, but will have broader audience appeal than, and I am guessing here, the other projects Khazaddum members are involved in. The obvious question will be, obviously, whether a three-track EP can be converted into a full-length of the competent attractive death metal infused stories.

Killing Songs :
Thorin Oakenshield
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