In 2001, Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley teamed up with Blind Idiot God’s Tim Wyskida and former OLD members James Plotkin and Alan Dubin to form a kind of drone-metal supergroup called Khanate. Over four albums in the ’00s, Khanate made some deeply heavy and experimental music. Even in the context of the doom metal underground, Khanate’s music was almost overwhelmingly slow, dark, and unfriendly. Khanate broke up in 2009, and they released their final album Clean Hands Go Foul three years after that breakup. Now, Khanate are back, out of nowhere, with a new LP.
The different members of Khanate have worked together a few times since the group’s breakup, and now they’ve returned with the new surprise album To Be Cruel. It’s just as uncompromising as their past work. To Be Cruel only has three tracks, but all of them hover around the 20-minute mark. They’re tangled and intense and defiantly ugly.
In a press release, Tim Wyskida says how the album came together:
Stephen [O’Malley] and I had an opportunity to record music together for a Drag City compilation in 2016, it was then that we recognized we wanted to do more together. We booked an incredible studio in Woburn, England to record the guitar and drum parts that would become the basis of To Be Cruel. We shared those initial recordings with James [Plotkin] and Alan [Dubin], who were as motivated as we were to create new Khanate music. James began arranging the material and developing new ideas as soon as he heard the tracks, and Alan immediately started crafting the lyrics.
Stream To Be Cruel below.
To Be Cruel is out now on Sacred Bones.