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Kilat – Rantai Penjinak

Kilat is a new black metal band from Australia, but this isn’t exactly the case because two of its members, Rama Parwata and Karina Utomo, are from Indonesia. They formed last year and released their first demo, Rantai Penjinak, just a few days ago. I was drawn to it by the album cover. The wispy forms remind me of the works of Sigrun Hammersdottir, who drew the covers for nearly every Branikald and Forest album. Kilat does not sound like either of those bands, but their music is great nonetheless.

The production is raw and abrasive, but still clean enough to allow finer details to shine through. The quality invokes images of ghosts gliding through dark forests. Rama Parwata is a fantastic drummer. His blast beats are a rampaging force, and they are punctuated by excellent fills. Sometimes he’ll play energetic d-beats and punkish bass-snare rhythms, and there are also a few moments when he plays crushing slow beats. He also plays in a drone-doom band called Whitehorse, so perhaps that influences his work here.

Kilat is one of those bands that uses a female vocalist, but Karina Utomo proves that she is more than a mere novelty by putting on a great performance. Her high-pitched screams and forceful growls are spine-chilling, as if they’re being made by an ancient poltergeist. Ben Andrews handles the guitars. His background is in hardcore, so I was skeptical of him at first, but he proves himself to be extremely talented. His tremolo riffs are frantic and energetic while still exhibiting hints of melody and atmosphere. Some sound like traditional black metal while others have a more punkish quality. Then he turns around and plays mighty power chords during the slower parts. I was most impressed by his violent performance on the final song, which reminded me of Anaal Nathrakh.

Kilat is one of the most promising acts I’ve heard in a while. They are incredibly skilled and their music possesses a spiritual vibrancy that is sorely lacking in most modern metal. It will be interesting to see how their ideas will grow and develop on future releases.