Khors Mysticism

Spacey art rock one moment, visceral blackened metal the next — sometimes both at once — Khors is an odd hybrid beast. Heavy in dark atmosphere, the band's third album, Mysticism, is gloomily warm rather than chilling, despite the numerous "icy" references of its lyrics. Harsh growls and pounding, distorted guitars end up emphasizing rather than disrupting the vibe, making the slower velvety tones of synths and acoustic guitar all the more effective. The same kind of contrast surfaces in the album's harmonic structure as well, its rich resonance and flowing melodies holding their own against long moments of nearly atonal repetition and rasping. Though Mysticism seems more concerned with the wonders of nature than technological magic, here it contradicts itself again, sounding progressive instead of atavistic. Yet in the end, Khors come off as reflective, even introspective rather than confused, leaving few definite clues as to where they're going from here. (Paragon)