Review: Kublai Khan TX – Absolute 8

  • Kublai Khan TX
  • Absolute
  • Metalcore
  • Texas, USA
  • October 4, 2019
  • 8/10

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The latter half of the 2010s has brought a savage strain of hardcore to the masses. It’s metalcore tinged hardcore filled with savage breakdowns, fight riffs, and 2-steps galore. It’s been a very nice evolution to the genre, and popularity is at an all-time high with bands like Knocked Loose raking in huge first week sales and Billboard numbers. A front runner in the genre has been the mighty Kublai Khan, or Kublai Khan TX now (they haven’t spoken out about the inclusion of the TX to my knowledge, but I can assume it’s because of legal troubles with an old speed metal band by the same name). I was super pumped for this album. I’ve seen the band live, met their lead singer, own some of their merch, and jam their stuff on the regular. They did not disappoint my sky-high expectations!

In the past these dudes have been known for political and deeply personal lyrics. The lyrics on the new album follow that theme, but they seem more intricately written here. They aren’t quite as blunt, it’s full of metaphors and well written wordplay. Do not fear if you’re an older fan though, there are still plenty of nasty profanity laced callouts here. One thing I appreciate is that no matter the nature of the lyrics, vocalist Matt Honeycut has such a visceral and snarled guttural delivery that makes any one of the lyrics feel like a knife at your throat.

The instrumentals here are badass too. The riffs are so heavy they’ll shake your room, specifically when those breakdowns and fight riffs hit. The track “High Hopes” probably has my favorite example of those. The whole album is so groovy. It’s produced very nicely as well, specifically in the drums. The kick drum is punchy and the snare is incredibly tight.  Think this is one of my favorite drum performances on a core album since Veil Of Maya‘s Matriarch.

The track “The Truest Love” is a big highlight on the record. It tackles the subject of broken families and fathers abandoning their children, specifically men who were abandoned by their fathers as well. Not exactly new territory, but the intensity with which they approach it is immaculate. Specifically moments before the breakdown where you see the vocalist frantically ranting right before those massive riffs drop. One of my favorite lyrics from the track is:

“You’re the fucking man, don’t need shit from no one. Don’t care your baby’s crying, ’cause you’d rather be gone. Don’t repeat the cycle when you could change their view. Why would you inflict on them the same pain that molded you?”

The album wraps up in about 25 minutes. It’s brief, but it’s one hell of a rager. It’s chaotic balls to the wall intensity with enough soul and passion to make it truly worthwhile.

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