In a way, it all seems so simple. You pair the frostbitten wrath of black metal with the thunderous nature of doom metal, and the result is something incredibly crushing. But then, it’s one thing to say it; doing it is another matter entirely. That’s part of what makes Lost In The Night Of Ages, the second album from Eternal Khan, so surprisingly good. After all, there’s a lot of people out there combining black metal and doom, but whereas this usually results in a record steeped in the darkest aspects of both styles, Eternal Khan instead celebrate that which lies at the heart of metal – the power of the riff. It’s not blackened doom, but a meeting of black and doom. Delightfully heavy and full of muscular power, Lost In The Night Of Ages might be the most enjoyable metal record I’ve reviewed in quite some time.
There’s absolutely no pretension or excess to this record. Opener “Heathen Death” throws you in to a stampede of crushing drums, blizzard riffs, and commanding vocals with absolutely no introduction, and the album doesn’t relent from there until it reaches its end. That’s not to say it is one-dimensional, though – the songs are carefully constructed, with changes in pace and emphasis allowing the song-writing talents of Eternal Khan to shine. Even if they never deviate from their mission of pummeling the listener, and there’s no sections that could be described as “soft” or where the band ease off, they find plenty of ways to ensure the record stays interesting without compromising the violence and power in the slightest. Even tracks with longer slow sections, such as “Ocean Of Ruin” and the first part of “Doomed To Flames Of Woe”, keep the momentum flowing. Surprisingly for an album so bloody-minded, there are some surprisingly deft touches scattered throughout, my favourite of which is the dexterous cymbal-work during the opening moments of “Progency Of Kronos”.
Fittingly for a band with such a name, the majority of Lost In The Night Of Ages bristles with martial power. The chorus to “Splintered Moon” is a case in point, painting pictures of armies marching beneath the titular moon, destruction being left in their wake; it’s the kind of section that will absolutely slay when played live. This is reinforced by tracks such as “Tranquil Life Of War” and “Ocean Of Ruin”, ensuring that this is not an album for peaceful background listening; it’s one for headbanging and raising hell. There’s something unusually captivating about it though; most albums of that nature work more as an adrenaline rush, soon losing their appeal and coming up short on repeated listens, but Lost In The Night Of Ages often keeps me in its spell for hours at a time, and has stood up very well to repeated listens. It does lose some of its steam towards the end, but that’s no great crime when you consider how crushing an album it is, and how it’s still relatively early days for the band.
In a way, what Eternal Khan are doing feels both new and exciting, but also quite orthodox. The strands of doom and black metal that they’re drawing from aren’t exactly groundbreaking any more, but the way they weave them together makes them feel fresh and invigorating. I can’t think of any other band meshing together the raw power of the likes of High On Fire with ice cold black metal. It’s an interesting combination, and one that works incredibly well. There’s vast potential here (both artistically and – as much as can be said for underground metal – commercially), and it would be no surprise if Eternal Khan went on to much bigger things. Judging by Lost In The Night Of Ages, they’re more than prepared to take what they deserve – by force if necessary.