Ketha – #​!​%​16​.​7 Review

Ketha 16 01aRemember a couple years ago when Meshuggah and Diablo Swing Orchestra were going to form a supergroup? Yeah that never actually happened, but it would be a cool idea right? If you already had this idea, part with your money now, because for only €2 (that’s $2.12 for the Atlantically challenged) that sick, avant-garde wet dream can be yours. Earlier this year, a band hailing somehow not from Japan, but from Kraków, released an appropriately enigmatically-named EP that by all rights should have shat all over Angra‘s RoTM position, had anybody on the planet told us about it. But they didn’t. And for that you’ll burn.

Imagine, for a moment, Car Bomb and Shining (you know damn well which one I’m referring to) being played simultaneously. Or, if that’s proving difficult, listen to “K-Boom.” Yeah, that’s a bunch of saxophones and a trumpet. What of it? “Monoceroids” goes on to grab at Leprous‘s claim to the “Best Trumpet Solo in Metal” award and proceeds to get itself one-upped by “The Sounderiad” and its screaming horn comping. Did I mention that all of these songs are around 90 seconds long? Because this EP is fucking nuts. #​!​%​16​.​7 indeed.

Here’s the lay of the land: Ketha made this big 17-minute long song and split it coherently into twelve individual movements based on the time-honored concept of completely shafting your expectations. It’s Catch Thirty-Three but even weirder. Nearly constant groove that was almost certainly obtained by distilling Fredrik Thorendal’s blood propels the album through whatever the opposite of the five stages of grief are. Periodically, attention shifts toward saxophone or trumpet melodies, finger snaps, or a cowbell in the middle distance, always incorporated in some fresh and engaging way that slaps your ass and calls you Sally.

Ketha 16 02

Maciej Janas’s vocals range from disturbed shrieks to a remarkably accurate Tomas Haake-deadpan impression. Haake gets aped in his customary habitat as well, as the other Maciej (Dzik) hammers out grooves and scalpel-precise fills across the guitar and bass maddeningly combating each other. “Crink Crank” shows Ketha prostrating themselves before the church of Meshuggah more deeply than at any other point on the album, but the abrupt ending of “Redshift” assures that they’re no copycat act.

As with any 12-track recording, there’s bound to be some filler and a couple of skippable tracks. Or not. In this case, there’s not a moment wasted and the EP is over far too soon. Which means you’ll play it again. And again. And again. And each time a different song will hit you in the gourd with a gourd, metaphorically speaking.  If by the end of today you have not yet bought #​!​%​16​.​7, know now that I am bound by law and personal conviction to burn your fucking house down. We live in a world where Jørn just released a Dracula concept record, I had to listen to Animi for literally hours, and it’s still legal to sell papayas as if they’re food. The universe is a terrible place. And for a few minutes Ketha nearly made me forget that.

Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Instant Classic
Release Date: 01.07.2015

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