Grand Rapids trio Dakhma bring black metal fury, crusty chaos on earthquaking LP ‘Suna Kulto’

dakhmaSurely, we’re all inundated with new bands every year, and it’s really hard to keep up with everything that’s going on out there. It’s even tougher from a writing standpoint to take note of it all and find really good music to feature that won’t be here today and gone tomorrow. But sometimes you know just from hearing the band’s music for the first time that something special is going on, and it’s worth paying attention to where things are headed.

It’s not like Dakhma is a brand-new band. The Grand Rapids-based trio have been grinding faces off for a least a few years now (their self-titled first EP was released in 2014), though their path has mostly been on the underground/DIY trajectory for the bulk of their run. The band—vocalist Claire, guitarist Derek, drummer Dylan—powers through mostly with a sooty black metal assault but also works in elements of hardcore, punk, and crust. They obviously got the attention of Halo of Flies, who are reissuing their 2016 effort “Suna Kulto” on vinyl, and damn it if it doesn’t deserve it. The collection is two massive tracks of chaos that stretch over 40 minutes, and while these epics do require your commitment in order to fully engage, what you get in return is more than worth the energy you spend. Plus, the music is a splattering blast of chaos that will topple your world and leave you heaving in a pit of dust. Trust me, it’s actually a good thing.

dakhma-cover“Coins” is the first cut, starting clean and calm but, before long, tearing open fully. There is a crazed passion in Claire’s screams, while the melodies are thick and charred, and the energy cascades over everything. There is so much energy and emotion—I can’t stress that enough, and it’s present in both cuts—while the band keeps destroying you and rolling out your bones. About halfway through the 20:37 cut, the path changes slightly, as the surge pulls back. But Claire disrupts any serenity simply by opening her mouth and unleashing her dragon cry, and from there, the band blazes forward fully. Great riffs roll down as the song lights up and pummels you. There’s a brief halt for clean trickling, but then the heart is ripped out again, blood splatters the floor, and the track ends in a storm of ferocity.

“East” is just a bit shorter at 19:27, and the band eases you into the song, with clean playing guiding you on your way. Then, an earth-tearing eruption arrives, as the guitar work sends compelling melodies flowing, and the spiraling playing can help hypnotize you. The drums crash even harder, as the band achieves raucous fury, and a short stretch of slower playing dives in, with some less-harsh calls entering the mix. Again, the song completely explodes, with screams that could peel the flesh from your face and the melodies pushing into a tornadic loop that eventually chews away and brings bruising. A slight pullback occurs, with warbled speaking swimming amid the floating shrapnel, and from there, the band brings one last assault, with your nervous system imploding from within, and the smothering sounds sizzling out, leaving a skeletal path of fire on the ground behind it.

Dakhma hopefully will reach more people now with Halo of Flies behind “Suna Kulto,” as their power and fury are tangible and can power your heart. Every moment of this effort ripples with chaos and blinding power, and I can only imagine the damage this band does live. This is the first fresh band that’s truly torn our eyes open in young 2017, and this trio is worth paying attention to as they blaze their trail into the future.

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