Released: 1999, Diehard
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
I hate it when death metal bands reach a point where they lose their sense of direction and become quite stale. Konkhra always did incorporate a little groove into their style, reaching a climax with "Spit or Swallow". This album contained several groovy riffs interspersed with extremely heavy wall-of-sound guitars and an immensely fierce production. At that point it must have been obvious to 75% of the band that this was as far as they were going to go, because everyone left except guitarist/vocalist Anders Lundemark. Anders still managed to keep his head together, recruit some new members (including ex-Machine Head drummer Chris Kontos and ex-everything guitarist James Murphy) and put out a fabulous follow-up to "Spit or Swallow" by the name of "Weed Out the Weak". Still heavy and still groovy, but different from past works (and perhaps a little farther from death metal). Many die hard Konkhra fans hated the album, yet many hailed it. One thing's for sure: with "Weed Out the Weak", Anders had reached the pinnacle of his creativity.
Konkhra has just released their new album "Come Down Cold", and I have no idea whether "The Freakshow EP" was released prior to it or not. But if this EP is any indication of where they are heading, the future doesn't look so bright. This EP contains three new songs, and two covers. And once again we see a line-up change. Anders Lundemark remains, while we see the return of bassist Lars Schmidt. Chris Kontos is out (was he just a session player?) and new skinsman Per Jensen takes his place. James Murphy also provides some lead guitar work, but I am assuming that because he is not shown in the band photo, he is not an actual member. The new material is straightforward mid-paced rock-metal. The only resemblance to death metal is in the vocal department. Anders tries to sing more this time, and although his voice is quite good, the music doesn't back him well enough. I listen to Konkhra because I want HEAVY. Previous albums were just that: HEAVY. And with this rock approach, the music comes across as being tired and unexciting. If I want death groove, I'll put on Illdisposed's last couple albums. Not even Murphy's leads can help overcome these bad qualities. But it sure as hell helps.
And here we go again…more cover songs. Konkhra has chosen to do Maiden's "Prowler" and Motorhead's "Orgasmatron". First of all, why Iron Maiden? I don't see how they have influenced Konkhra. But whatever…their version of "Prowler" is really not that bad. Thankfully they didn't cover a Bruce-era song. Secondly, why cover Motorhead? I just find Motorhead songs boring. On top of this, Sepultura has already covered this song. While this is no reason why Konkhra shouldn't, out of Motorhead's entire catalog you would think that there's got to be another song they could have done to make it at least a little more interesting. But their version of "Orgasmatron" is good anyhow. Regardless…I am sick of covers damn it!
I still plan on picking up the new full-length album, but I don't have high expectations. If you love the death-rock thing like late Entombed and the second Daemon album, then this may appeal to you. But long-time Konkhra fans will no doubt be disappointed. If you'd like to inspect Konkhra, visit their cool web site at http://www.konkhra.com