ICYMI: Khorada (ex-Agalloch) released their debut LP, played first show w/ YOB
So much music comes out all year, and even with our daily new song roundups; weekly Notable Releases, Indie Basement, and Upcoming Metal Releases columns; and monthly playlist of songs we like, we still miss stuff. Now that we’re in the final month of 2018 and looking back on all the music that came out this year, we’ll be publishing a post every weekday in December that catches up on some music released this year that we feel we didn’t shine enough of a light on, or didn’t discuss at all. The music we’ll be highlighting wasn’t necessarily “overlooked” in any broader sense of the word, just cool stuff worth catching up on in case you missed it.
After Agalloch broke up, frontman John Haughm formed Pillorian and released one of the best metal albums of 2017. Meanwhile, the other 3/4 of the band teamed up with former Giant Squid vocalist Aaron Gregory to form Khorada, but they didn’t get around to releasing their debut album Salt until this year. While Pillorian pick up where the black metal side of Agalloch left off, Khorada — perhaps not surprisingly — are closer to the melodic, proggy sludge metal of Giant Squid. The album has too much going on to be pigeonholed into one sound, though. It goes from some truly brutal stuff to some truly clean and pretty stuff, and it has lots of the in-between. Here’s how some of the members described the approach they took for this album to Noizr:
Don Anderson: It was the goal to not outright repeat Agalloch or Giant Squid. We saw this new band as an opportunity to evolve and take new risks as musicians. It would have been a missed opportunity then to repeat the past — even if there were things I wanted to keep from the past. The mix of genres is a symptom of our listening tastes. We all listen to a lot of different music. Also, AJ isn’t a metalhead like the rest of us. Jason [Khôrada’s bassist Jason Walton — Noizr] and I grew up on heavy metal so we know that sound/genre incredibly well. But, AJ is coming from a different background than us. So, that was bound to add something new to the mix.
Aaron John Gregory: I knew from the start this was going to be much different than either of our prior bands. I’ve said it often now in interviews, but I had no interest in recreating Agalloch, and Giant Squid is the sum of all of its parts, so that wasn’t something I could recreate if I wanted to. This was a great challenge for myself personally to see if I could write relevant, powerful music with totally different people than I’d been used to for the last 15 years.
If you haven’t heard Salt yet, you can stream it below.
Khorada also didn’t play their first live show until earlier this month opening for YOB (whose Our Raw Heart is one of this year’s best metal albums). It was at Slim’s in San Francisco, and the two bands will join forces again at Portland’s Star Theater on Sunday (12/9) with Thrones also on the bill. But first, Khorada play day two of ‘Hail Santa’ at Seattle’s Highline this Saturday (12/8). You can watch a video of Khorada’s live debut below.
Meanwhile, Aaron Gregory has also been busy this year fronting synthy prog-metal band Squalus, who are gearing up to release a split with Shadow Limb on Translation Loss next week (12/14) (pre-order). Stay tuned for that.
Khorada/ex-Agalloch bassist Jason William Walton is also a member of the supergroup Professor Black with Chris Black (High Spirits, Superchrist, Dawnbringer) and Jussi Lehtisalo (Circle), who released the metal/krautrock-blending LVPVS this past October. Read more about that at Invisible Oranges. Jason also has a solo noise/electronic project, and he released a recording of a live set earlier this year which you can stream below.
For even more Khorada, read IO editor Jon Rosenthal’s interview with Aaron Gregory on Invisible Oranges.
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