Review: “Lowest Form Of Animal” by Kublai Khan

Playing a style of Metallic Hardcore reminiscent of bands like Integrity and Earth Crisis, the unstoppable rise of Kublai Khan from humble beginnings in Sherman Texas in 2010 to become a truly international touring force in has been nothing short of meteoric following the huge success of the phenomenal and critically acclaimed “Nomad” in 2017. The combination of Matt Honeycutt’s rasping vocals, heavy breakdowns from the down tuned guitars of Nolan Ashley and pounding rhythms of drummer Isaac Lamb and bassist Eric English combined with their capacity to talk about socially conscious issues like police brutality, social anxiety and organized religion making for a incendiary combination. Three years after the well received “Absolute” that brought us the primal cuts of “Boomslang” and “Self-Destruct” with trademark foot to the neck pipe aggression and high octane energy, it’s time for something fresh…

…going into this review, expectations are high based on the quality of the past two records and while it may only be 14 minutes and 8 seconds in length, “Lowest Form Of Animal” ensures that we’re not disappointed by hitting like a knock out punch that floors in the first round. Honeycutt and Vogel’s voices intertwine throughout “Swan Song“, a caustic cut about the sex trade and violence against women, a thought provoking affair that once again exposes the underbelly of humanity with a genuine distain and anger in the voices of the pair. Sonically as you might expect, the band pummel the ear drums with a dominating and raw production that sounds like the band are playing together in a single room courtesy of Randy LeBoeuf at the stable of Will Putney, Graphic Nature Audio. The drum sound is clean and crisp, the double kicks hit hard, the bass slaps and the staccato riffage Ashley brings plays with varying degrees of silence while bringing just the right amount of weight to each cut. Everything is exactly what you’d expect from the band. “Loyal to None” incorporates more of the trademark rhythms we’ve heard before while also having the animosity that we’ve heard from bands like The Acacia Strain in the past, unflinching and resolute, it’s a bare knuckle fight with only one outcome. Wasting no time with a chorus “Taipan” cuts 72 seconds of violent groove with an intelligent lyric wrapped in the higher tempo onslaught, a breathless thunderbolt that slows down as it plays out and begs to be the mid section between a pair of other short sharp cuts when taken to the stage. The EP also uses samples cleverly as victims speak to an interviewer between cuts without damaging any of the flow of the record and the riffs just keep on coming with the groovier  “Resentment” sounding absolutely huge, devastating and fearfully addictive. There is no remorse, there is no repent, there is simply brutality with no end with the pummelling slow  breakdowns of “Dynasty” being some of the finest the band have in their armoury, the shifting tempos within each one sharpening that predatory instinct. There maybe is nothing that you wouldn’t expect to be here but each track has as much high grade incendiary quality as a Molotov cocktail [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Swan Song (ft. Scott Vogel of Terror)
  2. Loyal to None
  3. Taipan
  4. Resentment
  5. Dynasty

Lowest Form Of Animal” by Kublai Khan is out via Rise Records on 1st April 2022

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