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Dakhma – Astiwihad-Zohr Review

Ah, Switzerland…home of great Swiss cheese and Swiss chocolate. It is also where the band Dakhma hail from. This could be Iron Bonehead’s best release this year. Don’t believe me? Just ask my friend Fenris.

Funny that Dakhma would call Switzerland home. The pride of Switzerland…get this: Swiss Alps, Swiss Banks, Dakhma! Well, maybe for us metallers it is. Dakhma’s release entitled Astiwihad-Zohr presents some of the best dark death metal/blackened death metal this year. The riffs sound like a hurricane ripped opened a sewage tank and started spreading sewage all over town at a hundred miles per hour. Filthy but occasionally groovy, the riffs are centerpiece to this brand of extreme kick-ass music.

The vocals are as guttural as inhumanly possible and they even growl along with the groove. The downpicks don’t resound with anvil-dropping weight on your ankles, but turn this baby up in mid-day and your neighbors will swear they wished Dakhma stays in Switzerland for good.

There are only four tracks here and all are sufficiently entertaining. Blackened death metal has seen a wave of popularity these past few years, with flag-bearers like Abyssal inspiring hordes of followers experimenting with the style. With Dakhma adding to the list of quality practicioners, there is more to be excited about for fans of this sub-genre. A mere four tracks or not.

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The drums are still audible here, in spite of the downtuned riffs sounding like Grave Upheaval’s evil twin. Yes, you can hear some of the snare drum hits, tom hits and double kicks. If you listen to this on your boombox, chances are you won’t hear the nice fill-ins. Better get yourself a job and buy a better sound system if that’s the case.

The leads are also worthy of note. Wailing divebombing leads play in the background like someone’s ripping the strings off of the guitar while it’s plugged in to the amp. These are some of the best divebomb leads since Trey Azagthoth stopped playing real death metal. The groove goes chugga-chugga, tremolo riff and back again. How can you resist?

Label:Iron Bonehead Productions

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Track two, “Procession (Feed From The Skull)” starts off with the nastiest riff intro I’ve heard a death metal unit try out. It sounds almost like a really good thrash riff, without thrash pace drumming following suit. More than that, the band launch into blast mode and there’s no looking back. You’ll be hooked on Dakhma with one listen like you took more coke than your drug-dealer recommended for a first hit. Really, Dakhma is the shit!

There’s some horrid whispering to go with gong and cymbal crashing in track two. It certainly sounds ritualesque. Then, before you know it, the band launch back into blast mode and your ears are scarred for life. Better that you hear from Cvlt Nation how you lost your soul listening to this music before spending your next few years wondering how or why you lost it.

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Track three, “Spirit (From The Plane)” starts off with floor tom and gong hits like the band really does love its ritual worship. Then, the doom lick sets in and the string bends lead to more finger callouses on the guitarist’s splayed fingertips. The band starts off slow on this track. Note the wailing leads in the background if your sound system has survived up to this point. This track is perfect for a voodoo ritual.

Track four ends proceedings mightily. With screaming worthy of the seventh circle of hell, the band starts off in brutal fashion. Then, the band down pick during a chord transition segment before blasting again. This track has the catchiest groove section on the album.

Dakhma is quite a find. I’m going out of my mind. If I had a chance to re-do my end of year list, this might make the top five. Iron Bonehead Productions almost never disappoints, and they won’t start with Dakhma’s Astiwihad-Zohr. For you folks intent on quality dark death metal, Dakhma’s mini-album is sure to be one of this year’s most prized possessions.

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Written By

Provocateur/Connoiseur of all things dark and grisly. Published author and freelance editor addicted to underground metal of the highest order! Al Necro lives and writes in Manila, Philippines. Abandon hope, all ye who read Al Necro!

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