Less than two years after their previous full-length A Poisoned Psalm, Providence, RI-based Eternal Khan return with another full-length, Lost in the Night of Ages. While their previous album was a formidable blend of classic black metal, churning doom, and the might of death metal rooted in an Eastern sense of melody, it was hampered by a somewhat murky production job. Lost in the Night of Ages is a leaner beast than their previous work and wades more in blackened waters while still staying true to the course they’ve charted on previous works.
The band waste no time with introductions or ambient interludes: “Heathen Death” erupts with a haze of melodic black metal riffs and driving rhythms reminiscent of Satyricon’s Nemesis Divina as hoarse, war-commander barks drive the band forward. It’s a staggeringly strong opener rooted in the relentless pummeling of the drums and anthemic, Primordial-like song structure, and goes to full-out blastbeat mode in its latter half as the guitars layer melody upon melody. “Progeny of Kronos” turns more into doom-laden territory with its dirge-like guitars and ambient chord voicings, creating an aggressive yet somewhat melancholy sound, bathed in a grey halo as guitars swarm atop of pounding drums. This schematic works (mostly) well for the album’s duration, and the band have clearly refined their attack over the years to a sound that is both vicious and atmospheric.
Eternal Khan still introduce some less subtle elements, though, namely on “Tranquil Life of War,” the opening sequence of which could easily belong on an Ensiferum or Mithotyn album, and closer “The Scourge of Genesis,” which introduces Swedish-style death metal riffing to balance out the ample, grandiose melody. “Ocean of Ruin” is the album’s most memorable cut, though, with its lumbering doom approach that loses none of the battle-worn and gloomy vibes of the rest of the album. From a relatively simple ascending riff, the band forge a song of massive proportions that conveys its lyrics brilliantly and moves dynamically through different tempos and tremolo riffs, each one better than the last.
Overall, Lost in the Night of Ages is an enjoyable album, well-written and well-delivered, but still has a few faults that hold it back: While it’s a more aggressive and more direct songwriting approach, it’s also stubbornly reliant on the same general melodic motifs and scales and the ole’ trusty triplet 6/8 rhythm ala old Satyricon (as mentioned). To the band’s credit, though, they know when to split up the faster sections with some crushing slow-downs for maximum impact, and this is a step above anything else they’ve done up to this point. To nitpick, the vocals feel a bit high in the mix and the drums seem a bit overcompressed, but the band’s layering of melodic riffs makes up for this, since the guitars really are the driving force of these songs. With seven long-ish songs, it feels neither too short nor too long, and the songs on the album flow rather well both sequentially and individually.
If you’ve been looking for a darker, gloomier American answer to Nemesis Divina that doesn’t feel stuck in the past, Lost in the Night of Ages will be right down your alley. A strong effort from Eternal Khan, whose blackened craft continues to hit all the right marks and refine itself over time. Solid stuff here, friends.
Lost in the Night of Ages will be released on 05.13.16 independently by the band and is available for pre-order on CD and digital download. For more information on Eternal Khan, visit their Facebook page.