Konkhra – “Alpha And The Omega” (Hammerheart Records)
Hail the return of Anders Lundemark! Back in the mid 90s, if you wanted to know what Danish death metal was all about, then Konkhra were the band who released nasty albums like “Spit Or Swallow” that gave it to you in all its hammer smashing brutality, but equally with a hint of hardcore along with tons of attitude! Formed in 1989, the band had quite a run, releasing 6 studio albums, a live album, a video and a handful of other shorter releases from 1990 through 2009. Featuring the likes of James Murphy (Obituary, Death and Testament) and Chris Kontos (Machine Head, Attitude Adjustment) in its line up at one point, Konkhra supported Megadeth, King Diamond, Napalm Death, Suffocation and Behemoth during its time before finally grinding to a halt in 2009. Now, returning with long time members from the mid 90s and original bassist Martin Kristensen, Lundemark is back with a vengeance on “Alpha And The Omega”, rampaging as I remember him through heavy grinding guitars and tons of double bass drumming, but equally showing plenty of finesse from his experience (including his prior band Daemon working with Gene Hoglan and Nicke Andersson (The Hellacopters, Entombed)) through plenty of massive grooves, heaps of catches and plenty of meaty hooks to really show the pedigree of this band. With Machine Head forming a coupla years later, there are similarities especially in the aggression which Konkhra exudes in abundance here, proving that Lundemark is still as hungry as he was in his youth as the stampeding drums on ‘Divine Wind’ mix with chundering guitars occasionally wailing and wahing all to a piston precision hammering beat and tastily offset by a very slick solo! Grinding it down on ‘Blood Reign’ thanks to the thick, dirty guitars, the thudding drums add the perfect beat to the massive groove that isn’t just instantly catchy, but keeps you in its powerful embrace as it would live, which is where Konkhra thrive. Hitting the throttle on ‘Floodgates’ the blasting drums and bear roars are stylishly contrasted by plenty of licks and melodies from the twin guitars before settling into another powering groove guaranteed to induce instant head banging before raising the intensity on ‘By Instinct Be Driven’ with masses of cymbals and frantic blast beating complemented by whirring guitars crashing and smashing before the insane twin solos set in the mental damage. Going epic on the longest track ‘Darkest Millenium’, the band don’t squander their time but inject even more power grooves and heaps of menacing atmosphere to keep you satiated for more double bass drives, feedback drenched guitar and moshpit inducing beats – and all through well arranged tempo changes – and not forgetting the roars and drawls of Lundemark himself. A tremendous comeback by all accounts, bringing (back) the excitement and hunger of the 90s to the now with style and savagery. Konkhra is the name, as pronounced by Tom Angelripper, and don’t you forget it!