Kublai Khan's sound has consistently bridged the gap for millennial listeners who desire an unrelenting, moshy influence in contemporary metalcore. The band picks up where early Bury Your Dead records left off and builds on their approach to breakdown-oriented heavy music.
Nomad is a refined showcase of Kublai Khan's strengths. Guitarist Nolan Ashley's low-tuned riffs are uncompromising and mesh well with Isaac Lamb's punchy drum performance. There are instances of urgency and danger in these songs that a newfound audience at Rise Records might not be accustomed to.
While mostly familiar and nostalgic, the Texas group also takes aim at uncharted territory. Nods to death metal riffing ("The Hammer") and nu-metal tempos ("8 Years") comfortably shed light on the band's creativity. The weak shot at doom metal in "River Walker" is the only stumble. It's a strange foot to end the album on.
Although there is a matured emphasis on song structure, Kublai Khan knows their accessible approach to a musical beatdown surely isn't stale. "No Kin" finds vocalist Matthew Honeycutt at peak anger, and "B.C." also does not cease in ferocity. Nomad exemplifies why Kublai Khan subtly lead the mosh metal pact, while their peers aspire to follow. (Rise Records)