J.R.R. Tolkien inspired lyrics and technical death metal comes from the creative minds of Milwaukee’s Khazaddum. Their three song EP dives into the world of Middle Earth with a battle axe of technical death metal music in hand.
Tolkien’s works have been referenced by many metal bands, and Khazaddum is not the first band to name themselves after something from the Middle Earth stories. Although, I do not believe there are too many technical death metal bands who incorporate the works of Tolkien into their music, as certain black metal bands are notorious for the Lord of Rings type lyrical themes. Khazaddum’s style of technical death metal is similar to that of bands like Nile and Suffocation. Their compositions are intense, but the band does throw in some slow haunting moments during certain tracks.
The first song, “The Grey Thus Commands,” was where I really noticed Khazaddum’s fluid technical extreme sound. The band’s drummer holds down the fort by blasting behind his kit at those double bass drums with tremendous force. I would even compare the death growl vocals used during the song to that of an angry Orc. The guitar playing happened to be my favorite part of the song, because I really enjoyed the technical leads and thunderous palm muted galloping riffs. Also, there are some rather ominous sounding breaks that develop a certain atmosphere which reminded me of Nile.
“Durin’s Bane,” is the second song on the EP and features one of my favorite lyrical moments. If anyone has seen the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, then they will remember that part where Gandalf battles the Balrog and shouts, “You Shall Not Pass.” Well, Khazaddum takes that famous line and creates an epic death growl chorus towards the end of the song. With the double bass drum rhythm in full force and the guitarist riffing away, the vocalist makes the song very memorable as he growls out, “You Shall Not Pass.” The final song on the album, “Thorin Oakenshield,” starts with some bombastic war like drums and then morphs into a blast beast driven technical death metal attack. The music was fairly similar to that of the other two songs in sound, but the vocals at times seemed to change during the song which add a unique blend of death growls and goblin like shrieks.
Khazaddum’s musical journey through mines of technical death metal where fire demons dwell was one that fans of Tolkien and death metal shall find fascinating. Their musicianship was impressive and the songs were well written. Unfortunately, just writing Tolkien themed lyrics might not influence metal fans looking for more in depth and dynamic lyrics, but musically their creativity can appeal to fans of technical death metal. Still, these three songs demonstrate a band with talent and a band that enjoys their fantasy books. Either way I highly recommend this album!