Khôrada are a progressive/alternative metal band. They are the phoenix that rose from the ashes of two starkly different, legendary, and now derelict, metal acts: Agalloch, a folk inspired, atmospheric black metal band, and Giant Squid, a sludgy, progressive, post-metal band. With the singer and guitarist from Gian Squid, and the guitarist, bassist, and drummer from Agalloch, these members have joined together to create music distinct from their past projects. They succeed not only in that, but also in being distinct from just about every other band out there.
Pulsing and punching, Salt gallops away into struggle, desire, and a homebound warmth on legs of drumming and riffs from the meek and soft to the strong and wrenching. Throughout, Khôrada carries with them a feeling of caring and embrace behind their sound of dismay and conflict, imbuing the listener with their deepfelt emotions to sift through and feel.
Khôrada exhibits two guitarists who dance with, around, and against each other with ear-enticing contrast. One plays with a tone thick and smooth next to the other’s high and pained delivery. These two are present simultaneously on almost every track, giving each song a depth while they switch between lead and rhythm with each other, and transition to channel riff upon new, galloping or emotion tugging riff. This contrast breeds the weighted, loving emotion Salt lays upon the listener, and further generates the sense of strained beauty inherent within each track.
These constantly evolving and rotating riffs lend themselves wholly to the progressive sound Khôrada utilizes and displays with such reliability. Passages warp from soft and lush into driving heaviness. To no end, Khôrada is able to drift and explore new sounds and arrangements each giving the ear more than it had any right to expect.
Sitting atop the guitar’s shoulders, Aaron John Gregory’s vocals beg, yell, and lull, becoming the emotional center point on this album. He brings soft and caring warmth, yearnful melodies spawned from the problems of the modern age, and anger and indignation at our present situation. The audial aura this album manifests could not exist without his vocal work translating the sound of this album into tangible human emotion. It’s like a blanket. That imperfect blanket made just for you, with its rough edges and heavy weight, that yet yields warmth and comfort unlike any other.
The final strokes on this work of art is the added instrumentation employed throughout. Synth work is present on the tracks Seasons of Salt, Water Rights, and Ossify. Specifically on Ossify, the synth brings with it a pop-rock-esque vibe, which against all odds builds on and enhances the song to make it that much more engaging and, at times, almost adorable. In addition to the synths, they introduce trumpet on Edeste and Wave State, and cello on Glacial Gold, giving the openings of these track a distant and enigmatic sound. Each of these added instruments accentuate their respective songs and give this album a deeper hue to feel; as that is what this album does best: making you, the listener, feel.