KODIAK - Kodiak
Most bands wait to release a retrospective until after they have broken up. Not so German doom drone trio Kodiak! Next year they have scheduled a three album concept series, and until then, we get this self-titled double album (not to be confused with their equally self-titled debut longplayer!) which collect all the material they have released so far on Denovali Records plus a compilation track.
The compilation starts with the two side-filling tracks Beginning and End from their debut in early 2009. It’s here where the band first shows their excellent brand of instrumental post doom drone metal. The pace is utterly sluggish, the guitar and bass have a lot of droning reverb, the drums are pounding in an incredibly slow pace, creating altogether the soundtrack for the end of the world. Next up is Town Of Machine, their once again side-filling contribution to the split LP with Black Shape Of Nexus. The sound on this track feels a little more jarring, which makes sense considering the equally heavy attitude of their partner band. The first CD ends with By The Sea, with hardly eight minutes an untypically short song for this band specialising in material otherwise never shorter than a quarter hour. This track is only available on The Silent Ballet Vol. 15 compilation by Lost Children Records and shows Kodiak from their more streamlined side. But don’t get me wrong: even here they sound many times more extreme than your average doom band.
The second CD begins with MCCCXLIX The Rising End from their split album with Canadian drone gods Nadja. It shouldn’t surprise therefore that this twenty-one minute behemoth is a less rhythmic and consequently more drone/ambient piece of noise. The final two tracks, named after the noble gases Radon and Xenon, are from their collaborative album Rn/Xe with ambient artist N. This album has the exactly same release date as this compilation, so that everyone who doesn’t need the vinyl packaging instantly gets these two long tracks on the retrospective. The radioactive Radon starts out very slowly, seemingly giving first dibs to N, before guitar drones and feedbacks quietly join in, and it’s only after ten minutes that you finally recognise Kodiak’s signature sound. The concluding Xenon reverses that formula by having Kodiak joyfully play out one of their so far most melodic tunes during the first third, before room is given over to more experimental moods.
The retrospective compilation is released as a high class double CD and as a budget priced MP3 download edition. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet to taste the monolithic sounds of Kodiak, you will be best served with the physical version. Fans and completists should favour the digital download to get for not even half the price the band’s so far entire discography (minus an earlier demo). Considering that this release even contains the brand new collaborative album with N, there is actually no reason not to purchase this two hour trip into darkness and decay.
Few other bands have the same sense of post-apocalyptic ardour. Only Sunn 0))) and Nadja come to mind. Kodiak certainly don’t play “beautiful” music, but their heave ambient doom drone concoction is amazingly impressive and will open your ears to new horizons of musical extremism. This is the best place to start to get acquainted with Kodiak!