© 2021 KSUT Public Radio
NPR News and Music Discovery for the Four Corners
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Khôrada, Forged From Agalloch And Giant Squid's Ashes, Burnishes 'Glacial Gold'

Khôrada's <em>Salt</em> comes out July 20.
Khôrada's <em>Salt</em> comes out July 20.

Khôrada is a metallic sharktopus.

Let me explain: Khôrada formed a couple years ago after Agalloch broke up and three-quarters of the members of that band joined up with guitarist and vocalist Aaron John Gregory (of Giant Squid, currently on hiatus). The inclination when talking about such groups is to compare them to previous projects, which, in this case, isn't completely unfair. After all, these were two forces of modern metal: one reshaping black metal into majestic, sidewinding epics, and the other extending cephalopodic lore to doomy prog-rock.

But hit play on "Glacial Gold" from the band's debut album Salt, and it's quickly apparent that Khôrada sounds like nothing before it.

"'Glacial Gold' is a turning-point song on Salt," Aaron John Gregory tells NPR Music, "sorrowfully reflecting on what came before it, while looking for the means to move forward; a metaphor possibly for my own life, or even that of this band and what it represents for all of us involved in it."

Gregory's warbling baritone sets quite the gothic overtone for the six-minute track. "Dare I be so lucky to find / gold exposed behind them all? / Gold in every tragedy / that makes landfall," he sings. It's just as much a reflection on his life as it is a silver (er, gold) lining for the rest of the members who went through a very public breakup in Agalloch. Those searching for foggy black-metal riffs and blast beats won't find much here; instead, guitarist Don Anderson, bassist Jason Walton and drummer Aesop Dekker conjure an explorative sense of wonder and deftly weave it throughout the doomy and wandering "Glacial Gold." It's all stitched together by Jackie Perez Gratz's (Giant Squid, Grayceon, Amber Asylum) sorrowful and seeking cello. This is the kind of monumental chemistry that can't be forced, but forged over years of work.

Salt comes out July 20 via Prophecy Productions.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.