Belgian force Kosmokrator put hellfire into black, death metal on mean ‘Through Ruin … Behold’

There is no doubt there is evil afoot in this world, and all one has to do is turn on the news or, if you’re really in the mood for self-masochism, get onto the Twitter. It’s weird to think sometimes we have to remove ourselves from this reality and visit with hellish creatures and forces of eternal damnation to make our hearts feel a little better. Twisted as that is.

So, it was, after once again being pulverized by the day’s events that “Through Ruin … Behold,” the debut record from Kosmokrator, felt like it was just the elixir needed to cope with 24 more hours of bullshit. The Belgian beasts mash together death and black metal with great effect, and though they’re just now issuing their first official record, the band has been together since 2013 and have put out smaller releases along the way. This seven-track, 47-minute record is not trying to be anything it’s not, and it isn’t relying on trying to keep up with ever-evolving sounds. This is a crushing, mind-erasing affair that the band—vocalist J., guitarists C.M. and D.V., bassist T., drummer P.R.—fully commits to driving into your chest like a cannonball, with you heaving for breath and blacking out.

“The Push Towards Daath” has an eerie beginning before the hammers are dropped in the form of splattered guitars and wild growls. The evil assault makes its way toward doom horns and an outright bludgeoning, while humid flames rise, the drums pace, and the finish is an outright drubbing. “Ruins” has guitars threatening before unleashing, as nasty wails and a mighty force punch toward your center. Yelled lines and a furious pace unite while the steam thickens, and the track burns out of time. “Irreversible Pathways” is smothering as the track goes for broke and powders bones, while evil howls crush and shake the brain. The sludgy assault and massive barrage continue while warped riffs bounce off your skull, and the song slowly bleeds away.

“I Am the Utterance of My Name” has strange sounds that make the flesh crawl as the guitars cut through meat and muscle, and weird growls turn beastly. The tempo then picks up and makes a run through the middle while wild cries pummel, and a fever dream sinks into your bloodstream as the track loosens its grip. “Kosmokratoras I – In His Name Shineth the Sun” starts in a sound bath before weird riffs tumble and the bass thickens. The tempo punishes while the track lays waste, and then a female-driven choral section sets in as the playing kills, only to return to madness before the song bows out. “Nathir” has riffs encircling and the verses charring before the whole world seems immersed in madness. The track is a constant assault that makes you dizzy as it goes on, finally ending in smothering hell. “Gestorben Muss Sein” is the closer and gets started with charged up guitars that give off heat before the song truly bursts. Deep growls arrive, as if choking on mud, before the terrain gets doomy and ugly. The song folds in cold trickling that provides a moment of solace as a female voice fires up, the track crackles, and the intensity quakes before exiting into fury.

Kosmokrator’s debut might have taken some time to arrive, but “Through Ruin… Behold” is a fully realized, smothering record that completely rips you apart. This record feels like it’s trying to force you into the eye of evil, accept its command, and commit to an eternity of suffering all because it’s what you deserve. This record will carve you up and leave piles of your flesh and blood behind in piles.

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