Kakodaimonia – The Ties That Bind are The Ropes That Fray

So what do we know about Kakodaimonia? Not a whole lot to be honest, so there is a sense of mystery and a sure lack of pre-conceptions before diving into this one. That’s probably a great way to be when reviewing an album, to be honest, but before listening I couldn’t help but undertake a little research. Test the water. Get a heads-up on what these ears might be destined for. Well, at ye ol’ Encyclopaedia Metallum one can discover origins in New Hampshire, and drone, doom, metal plus grindcore listed as genres. Well, let that be warning enough! But hang on, do those details sound somewhat familiar? Indeed. This work is by an artist who we’ve interviewed in the past about a separate project. Alrighty then, so now we’ve got some preconceptions, but are they ill-informed? Let’s jump in and find out!

Track one. You Killed Our Child. 9 minutes. Hells, this is heavy before even pressing the play button. Certainly not a track title to inspire thoughts of ambient angel sounds and major melodies. Honestly, I’m already a touch… terrified. So much for preconceptions… eh? What follows is a strange filtered helicopter sound, and the introduction of some simple, but very pleasing bass notes. Ah, the spoken-word enters. No screams here or distortion. It feels like a distant soul recounting an experience to tape. A report of some kind?

I was seduced into thinking the piece might continue like this… until the noise leapt in, and the vocals found their edge. We’re in the experimental realm now. Trapped in a landscape of static, slapped with bass tones, and commanded. What the commands are however, is somewhat up to the imagination. Isolating. That’s what this is. It escalates, and even at the 9 minute conclusion it refuses to let you take a breath via a fadeout or anything. No, the terminations here come abruptly.

A few deep breaths, and we leap into track two. Rotting Away. Will this be slower paced? Darker… if such a thing is possible? Will the audio more resemble slow decomposition through music’s composition?

An instrument surely suffers in the first moments. Scratchings. Clawings. What gnarled creature’s hands dare ravage these strings? Filtered grindy sounds. More of that vocal throaty declaration. A machine-like drone. Again, though intense would be an understatement, there is an art to be said for the manner in which Kakodaimonia dishes out the surprises. Can it get… meatier? Is this enough tolerable chaos? Well, there is often more on the horizon, but with a threshold set so high, as it dips down here and there to offer some respite, you begin to realise that your perspective can only be formed by what has come before. The future… the rest of the track, is an unpredictable place.

So, I’ll declare at this point that “noise” and a vast quantity of droney, dark ambient sort of stuff has never… I don’t know… resonated with me. This work though is different. It contains a strength of purpose and a meaning trapped in there between the walls of pain, far devoid of sounding like someone just “experimenting”. I dare say Kakodaimonia is quite a lot more than that. There is purpose in the intentions, and the commitment to thematic style, and emotion, is solid. Solid as the black concrete that traps you in the listening experience. It is work that requires attention, patience, and dare I say it, a pain threshold as high as the oblivion it makes one’s mind wander within.

Cinematic? Yes! If ever there was to be a dark science fiction visual, that pulled no punches and tossed folks straight into an overwhelming abyss, then here would be a most perfect soundtrack. It makes me wonder why nobody has done this! Alas… pushing boundaries isn’t something so appreciated by those who serve up the media that people feast upon.

Alas, it is time to listen onwards. Track three, I Kept Going Back steps into more into what I’d call traditional experimental noise categories. Reverberous spoken word and static here, about the closest semblance of a break that Kakodaimonia seems likely to offer.

All these established themes continue throughout the release, but I want to hop now to its final tenth piece. Envy Them All. A running time over over 10 minutes. Why this skip to the end, you might ask? It only seems fair to leave some gaps for our readers and listeners to experience for themselves! This process isn’t about unveiling all the mysteries. Its more about… yes, my personal ramblings, and helping to portray a general landscape that folks can enter, be it at their own risk.

Envy Them All. Welcome to the release’s dark fantasy apocalyptic final chapter. The score to a generator’s electrical heart and crackling electronics. Are those footsteps? A man approaching in order to tell us a story? The tempo effortless raises to the low hits of a gong. The peacefulness of resonant percussion offset by frantic buzzing. At some eight minutes in, all hell breaks loose… and what happens after that is something you’ll just have to experience for yourself. Me? After this, I need to go and unwind… though the experience is not one I’m likely to forget any time soon.