For some reason the summertime has me constantly jonesing for more and more wild death metal to slam on while I undertake my day to day summer death metal duties, including mowing a pentagram into my lawn, roasting a goats head on the BBQ, setting my shed on fire to avoid clearing it out, shot-gunning beers in my cut off and power washing the Obituary logo onto my patio.
So, I was delighted when the Shaman asked me to review this delectable little lovely from Los Angeles, California horror’s Draghkar titled At The Crossroads Of Infinity, the group’s debut full length. Draghkar have numerous demos/splits to their name which are show cased in a 2019 compilation called Eternal Abyss which made for a pretty cool collection of their death/black metal dittys. I have been pretty excited about their debut. It’s out right now after being released via Unspeakable Axe Records this July.
First up, lets discuss the artwork. Quite often a poor piece of art can detract from the overall quality of a record, however, I am pleased to say that Karmazid has smashed it on At The Crossroads Of Infinity. The mixture of black and grey and the image of a figure conjuring up a whirlpool, that I can only imagine leads to the abyss, is perfect artwork for an extreme metal album. If you’re unfamiliar with Dragkhar then you’ve been missing out. They’re a mix of death metal, black metal (particularly the Greek scene e.g. early Rotting Christ) and the more extreme side of the thrash scene. The group are a five piece that can take old school Bathory and mix it with Sodom and Possessed to make one hell of a noise.
The first thing you’ll notice about this record, and Dragkhar as a whole, is the production. It’s lo-fi and old-school but at the same time clean and it feels thin…almost like you could stick your hand out and pierce the veil. You’ll lose a few fingers but it’ll definitely be worth it. The record is chock full of really cool riffs, that are not only crushing, but utterly infectious. It’s that typical death/thrash sound but a little more put together.
The record is chock full of really cool riffs, that are not only crushing, but utterly infectious…
The vocals are just amazing, what a performance from Daniel Butler. This dude can do anything, the way he changes pitch multiple times makes for a really varied and layered sound, moving between low gutturals, old school pained screams and these wraith like black metal screeches. The other stand-out performance is from drum wizard Phil Segitho. They’re really lively, diverse and full of exciting fills and tom rolls. It’s a change from the usual blast fest associated with the genre. (Don’t get me wrong, I love me some blast, but, it’s nice to have a change now and again).
The record is full of killer hooks and the occasional twist in sound. At one point, Dragkhar pull out a spoken word section from absolutely nowhere and it just fits. The guitar tone has this throwback feel to it, almost like it’s been marinated in Soulside Journey era Darkthorne and then baked in the Nihilist easy bake oven till firm and crisp. My only foible with the guitar is that the lead could be a little higher in the mix, but it’s only a small moan in the grand scheme of things. The album is closed out with the title track, an ethereal journey showing all of the groups influences and how they put them together to form their own unique sound. It’s the perfect way to end.
This is a great example of a hybrid record where a group takes their numerous influences and perfectly amalgamates them into their own sound. Sometimes this doesn’t work, can come across convoluted and detract from a groups sound but happily not here. There is real potential and Dragkhar can only move up. The energy and mix of genres come-together with ease and I can’t wait to hear what’s next!
Scribed by: Matt Alexander