Saturday 13 January 2018

Geomancer - Khatt Al-Raml (Album Review)

Release date: January 15th 2018. Label: Inverted Grim Mill Recordings. Format: CD/DD

Khatt Al-Raml – Tracklisting



Guitar / Vocals - Richard,
Bass - Calum,
Drums - Ruben


I first became aware of Geomancer a couple years ago when they supported OHHMS and Conjurer on their joint UK Tour back in August 2016. The guys impressed me a great deal and I was curious to hear more from the band. Well that day has come as Geomancer will be releasing their debut album - Khatt Al-Raml.

Their music is an interesting sound with elements of Doom, Sludge, Post-Metal, Stoner Metal and Blackened Rock/Metal that all combine to create a Post-Doom style of music. The band uses a drone style template to hold everything together.

Opening track - Geomancer - is a slow-paced and bleakly distorted vision with the band focusing on heaviness more than melody. The overall sound has a cold feel with Geomancer playing more doom and gloom riffs with a blackened sludge groove for added measure. The growl based vocals are menacing but at least you can understand them. The second half of the song moves into Psychedelic and Post Rock territory with the band closing the song off with fast-paced Stoner Metal vibes that show you there is a lot more to Geomancer's music.

Second track - Grief is another lengthy opus with the band creating YOB/Electric Wizard levels of heaviness. The mood is bleak and sometimes sombre. Though that doesn't allow Geomancer to become complacent. Far from it. Geomancer build up a steady rhythm of Doom and Sludge Metal theatrics that has a more post-metallic feel compared to the other songs on the album. The vocals become more threatening and perhaps less easier to understand. This is where Geomancer start to experiment with their sound even more. As this song and the whole flow of the album expertly moves from extreme metal to the less harsh ways of Psychedelic Stoner Metal.

Third track - Visions - is a drone/sludge rock song with different swirling sounds opening the song. It has a BONG style influence as the band play an almost never-ending simple drone style riff. The song has quite a Shamanic feel with the different sound effects adding a layer of complex Middle Eastern melodies. Visions shows another side to Geomancer and it's a superbly played song. However it doesn't offer any great insights into the album and could be classed as filler compared to the other songs. Within time my opinion on this song will probably change.

Fourth track - Greed - returns to the furious psychedelic Doom/Sludge Metal onslaught with the band playing perhaps some of the heaviest moments on the album. It's a weirdly addictive sound allowing Geomancer more creative freedom with the heavy distorted/drone experimental noises becoming the main focus. The psychedelic sludgy stoner parts make a welcome appearance as YOB/CONAN style rhythms interact well with the vocals and the brilliant drumming of Ruben.

The final track - Sacrifice - is fifteen minutes plus of epic doom/sludge/stoner/post-whatever spaced out madness. It's quite trippy and spaced-out compared to the other songs but the familiar and harsh Sludge/Doom Metal atmospheric sounds remain as Geomancer finish off with the best song on the album. The vocals from Richard add a menacing feel and heavier substance to the song.

The production on Khatt Al-Raml is highly effective as the sound comes at you from all directions. The music is loud and violently crisp. Some people may find fault with the vocals and the bands willingness to experiment with their music. Those could be valid points when you first listen to the album. After a few listens this album had me under its hypnotic dark spell. If you want a brutally heavy sonic experience that dares to be that little bit different. Well Khatt Al-Raml is the album for you.

Geomancer may have opened the door to a lasting and rewarding career within the realm of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal. A stunning debut album. No question.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Geomancer and Inverted Grim Mill for for the promo. Khatt Al-Raml will be released on DD via Inverted Grim Mill Recordings from January 15th 2018. CDs will be released at a later date.