A while ago we were contacted by "Svoid", an hungarian Band presenting their current demo named "Ars Kha". Besides mainly being a "one-man-project" consisting of "S." (maybe known to some for his earlier involvement in forces like "Bornholm" or "LatroDectus), the band actually HAS a live line-up, though the pseudonyms of his fellow warriors are not known to us. The demo itself seems to have caught quite some attention, as the first release has been sold out for some time now. Why this review then? First: We don't give a shit how old a release is or if it is still available. 2. This will have a new release soon (with a good possibility it might be found at the label "Sigillum Tenebrae Records" again, which also put out the first batch). Besides that a full length might come this year, too.
Included in "Ars Kha" are five titles featuring a playing time of about 26 minutes which is okay for a demo. The names of the individual recordings leave no doubt that the lyrical themes consist of a mixture about Death, Occultism, Satanism, Spirituality and a (un)healthy dose of "Isolation" - which of course are fitting themes to black metal. The title track "Ars Kha" also hints at the "Anti-Cosmic" alignment claimed by the band (if you don't know the meaning of 'anti-cosmic' it is time to educated yourself). Of course this knowledge is not needed for listening to these tracks which shall now be examined more thoroughly.
Instead of adressing the possible strengths and weaknesses the composition might have we'll first get involved with the production and recording value. Clear tones are a thing which is found throughout the whole album: guitars (although in my opinion they could've been put a bit more into the background), bass and drums. Only when it comes to blast beats there is a bit of imbalance at the snare, everything else is very balanced. Especially the vocals are presented very well, grim and raspy; it seems there hasn't even been much post-production or doubling trickery in the studio. After these first impressions one conclusion can already be drawn: very clean proudction. Maybe too clean for some as this means that there's "harshness". Those of you who prefer coherent audio constructs on the other hand will view this as a benefit.
Time to get to the recordings themselves. Obviously there are a lot of recurrent melodic parts either played on the bass or the guitar (notably already in the first tracks "Supreme Evil Glory" and "Death Underneath"). When it comes to the drums you'll be confronted with a hammering way of playing from time to time, not being the main percussive element however. Single, distorted Chords and fast tremolo riffing take turns without pushin either style too much into the foreground. Many bands are pushing the bass too much in the back of the mix, here it is presented equally to the other instruments; like the aforementioned melodic interspersions. One can safely say that the "low-pitcher" is playing along WITH the other instruments and not "away" from the mix.
For Souls interested in the works of "Svoid" there's a Myspace page on which all of the current songs are online for free listening. As usual: if you like what you are hearing support the artist and the results of his venture(s).
01 Supreme Evil Glory (06:13)
02 Death Underneath (05:13)
03 A Void of Breathless Fall (05:10)
04 Ars Kha (04:44)
05 The Emptiness They Find (04:44)
This demo is a succesful independent one. Like I already stated above the production is surprisingly clear especially for an underground production. The presentation of the vocals is very sound and fitting, kudos to that. Even if the balance between the different instruments has been maintained meticulously some "rawness" might have been appropriate; a bit more of an "asskick factor" which could've been done by some increase in the lower frequencies (especially with the bass-drum microphone) or guitars put slightly in the background. My own favourites are "Death Underneath" for the aggressive tonal basis and the title track "Ars Kha" for its grim and vicious atmosphere.
Re-Release coming soon