Seriously, Tofutopia? An album called Tofutopia? This is the album title of this record? Surely, this band has to be joking, does it not? As this record sits in my review pile, I find it increasingly difficult to take it seriously, even though that may be the point. Chris Owens - guitarist/vocalist of Lords and engineer of records by Achilles, Coliseum, and Young Widows among others - recorded this album, so it probably is nowhere near as bad as is running through my mind as I continue to stare at its excellent artwork courtesy of Josh Graham from Neurosis and Red Sparowes. Khann's debut album is a monstrous nineteen songs as well, which scares the living hell out of me.
The beautiful sounds of "Meteor" serve as a tease as the album blows open the doors with the grind-esque assault of "Himalayan Green" and "Pralay." The vocal styles are all over the place and by the time the fourth track, "Anodynic Spheres," hits, I quickly realize that the whole album is stylistically all over the place as it showcases a more expansive but equally aggressive sound. "Bird" shows a band that has the ability to create emotionally and dynamically expressive music that has healthy doses of full, aggressive sound that does not run people over with sensory overload (as happens from time to time throughout the album). At times the song reminds me a bit of Old Man Gloom in relationship to the sounds and structures that band utilizes. The hammering "Volcanic Lungs, Pt.1" does an excellent job of fusing many elements of Khann's sound into an accomplished, jackhammer-esque missive that declares their qualities as a band while dismissing most of my misgivings that I had when I initially put Tofutopia on the stereo.
Khann does surprise me a great deal as there is a myriad of stylistic sounds and vocal timbres contained within Tofutopia. After getting over my initial prejudices concerning the album title (still awful), I found a decent amount of material and songs to listen to on the record. I also relate well ethically to the band's ethical premises and lyrical subject matter concerning animal rights and the ensuing ethical dialogues that develop from those beliefs. My issues with it is the sheer amount of material to wade through to find those nuggets scattered over the nineteen songs that populate Tofutopia. However, because there is a lot of different styles jammed on here, there might be a bit of something for everyone interested in the louder more aggressive forms of music.
6.0 / 10
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