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Khirki - Κ​υ​κ​ε​ώ​ν​α​ς review




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Reviewer:
8.4

65 users:
7.91
Band: Khirki
Album: Κ​υ​κ​ε​ώ​ν​α​ς
Style: Hard rock, Stoner metal
Release date: April 2024


01. Featherless
02. Pumping The Vein
03. The Watchers Of Enoch
04. Συμπληγάδες
05. Your Majesty
06. Father Wind
07. Heart Of The Sea
08. Heκate

Khirki unleashed a debut of spiritually epic proportions, taking many of us by surprise; however, they've now set themselves a high benchmark with Κυκεώνας. Can their sophomore possibly live up to the standards of their memorable debut?

Khirki (formerly known as Mad John The Wise) are a Greek hard rock/stoner metal trio featuring a line-up of Dimos Ioannou (guitars/vocals), Orestes Katsaros (bass), and Spiros Stefanis (drums). Back in 2021, the band dropped what became one of the year's most highly praised albums in stoner and hard rock with their full-length debut Κτηνωδία, an album that also happened to be my personal overall AOTY pick for 2021. Inevitably I was met with great anticipation when they announced the release of this year's sophomore Κυκεώνας, but can this new release live up to these high expectations?

If you're one of the many who appreciated the style Khirki brought to their debut, then you'll be happy to know that they very much continue on a similar route. By doing what they've done best, Khirki build upon their unique blend of hard rock combined with elements of stoner rock-cum-metal (as it occasionally crosses the border from rock into metal), whilst introducing folkish, progressive, and psychedelic rock elements. The one band that springs to mind when combining these elements to such majestic effect is the fellow Greek psychedelic rock group Villagers Of Ioannina City (a band who I also happen to hold in extremely high regard). So, the musical style is similar to the debut, but how does it fare in terms of performance, sound, and, most importantly, songwriting?

Well, the first thing that stands out to me is how much meatier the tone is from the debut. While Κτηνωδία was primarily hard rock-based, rarely crossing the border into metal territory, this album focuses on a much weightier sound, and whilst the band are clearly no Mastodon in regard to sheer intensity, they start off in a heavier fashion with "Featherless". This opener begins with a heavy chugging traditional-sounding main riff, as stylistic drumming and heavy bass lines drive the groovy rhythm section loudly and clearly, which remains the way throughout the majority of the album. This opening track is also the first taste of the super melodic guitar work, and catchy verses and choruses that the debut was renowned for. 

While the vocal style remains an acquired taste for many, I find it rather fitting for this album's level of groove and enjoyment, as it adds a certain charm, character, and authenticity. Much like it was with the debut, pinpointing standout tracks is really a matter of personal taste; there's so much to enjoy from each song, and it's filled to the brim with memorable moments, so take your pick. However, there are three that, for me, simply can't go ignored. 

The first of these is "Συμπληγάδες", which is striking firstly for its significantly slower tempo build-up, but also because there's something really special about this being the only track fully lyrical in their native Greek language. This gives a warm-hearted spiritual touch, which shines through in both the epically melodic songwriting and fabulous performance. "Your Majesty" is the fantastic follow-up, with a more upbeat tempo, featuring tremendously groovy riffs, excellent leads, and a super catchy chorus. It's impossible not to want to sing along, let alone nod your head to the outrageously groovy rhythm. The last of the three songs mentioned above is "Father Wind"; similar in structure to "Wolf's Lament" from the debut, this is perhaps the most folkish song, with slow beautifully written acoustic melodies, violin passages, and soft singing. The second half of the track increases in tempo, evolving from a folkish ballad into a joyful headbanger's delight.

So, does Κυκεώνας live up to the high standards of Khirki's remarkable debut Κτηνωδία? For me, personally, no, but it's certainly a mighty fine follow-up, one with which I'm not left with any disappointment at all. The songwriting is yet again impeccable, and with many moments of such high memorability, I'm highly confident it'll make the cut for one of this year's standout albums for many listeners who appreciate what this talented trio has to offer.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 8





Written on 23.04.2024 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments

Comments: 2   Visited by: 17 users
04.05.2024 - 11:50
ForestsAlive
I cannot believe how good this album is! From the production, performances to the compositions, everything screams quality and hard work. And as a Greek myself, I am pleasantly surprised by the clever Incorporation of Greek music elements (that avoid stereotypes).

This band deserves to reach wider audiences!
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05.05.2024 - 13:32
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Contributor
Written by ForestsAlive on 04.05.2024 at 11:50

I cannot believe how good this album is! From the production, performances to the compositions, everything screams quality and hard work. And as a Greek myself, I am pleasantly surprised by the clever Incorporation of Greek music elements (that avoid stereotypes).

This band deserves to reach wider audiences!

I couldn't agree more with you, it's a great and highly enjoyable album. You should definitely check the debut out if you haven't yet, it's every bit as good if not better!
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