ALBUM REVIEW: Kublai Khan – Absolute

Release Date: October 4th 2019
Label: Rise Records


Having been around for ten years now, Texas metallic hardcore purveyors Kublai Khan can always be counted upon to bring no-nonsense aggression. Very much singing from the Hatebreed and Earth Crisis hymn sheet, we should certainly know what to expect for their fourth album, ‘Absolute’.

Opener ‘Armor Of Goddamn’ is short in length, and this ensures that as soon as it ends, you’re immediately wanting more. And you’d better strap in, as the band keep up the fury for this entire record without it letting up. The crisp production, particularly with the drumming, means that everything shines through.

‘The Truest Love’ is a real defining moment of the record, and the band’s sound in general. And in what is testament to this record is there’s a real sense of flow, along with Matt Honeycutt‘s rasp very much leading the way. You’ll be left perched in suspense, and wanting to spin-kick everything in sight at the same time.

‘Self-Destruct’ has a very powerful intro, and will leave you wanting to two-step everywhere. The bass-and-drums only ending to the song is simple but extremely effective as well. ‘Lower Level’‘s stop-start sections also help to keep the momentum up, and it’s certainly testament that a record like this can still offer some surprises.

The low-end is very strong and prominent in this record, and particularly on ‘High Hopes’. Another drum-led segue follows into ‘Beneath A Crescent Moon’, further cementing the sense of flow and continuity. There’s also a slight underlying tension, which very few bands of this genre can really master. On top of this, the groove and bounce provided in places means this record offers more than its surface-level spite and venom.

With ‘Before It’s Too Late’, there’s another quality that reveals itself; the breakdown coming in surprisingly, before yet another further breakdown followed by atmospheric noise helps to end the album on a tense note. When you think of some similar bands who deal in eye-rolling levels of predictability, Kublai Khan‘s sense of continuity is undoubtedly refreshing. Their sound is simple and direct on the surface, but there are small subtleties that reveal themselves on repeat listens as well.

This record wastes absolutely no time, and this might just increase Kublai Khan‘s profile. If you want half an hour of aggressive, in-your-face metallic hardcore, then let ‘Absolute’ bring you that fix.