Khanate, the drone-metal band with Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))), Tim Wyskida of Blind Idiot God, and Alan Dubin and James Plotkin of OLD, have just surprise-released their first album in 14 years. Out now digitally on Sacred Bones with a physical release coming June 30 (pre-order), To Be Cruel is a three-song, hour-long album that was mixed by Randall Dunn alongside James Plotkin and Stephen O'Malley, and made with engineering by Colin Marston, Jaime Gomez Arellano, and more. The album was largely made prior to global lockdown, with finishing touches added in recent months. Here's more from the band, via press release:
“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,” explains drummer Tim Wyskida. “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.”
“Orgone, the studio Tim mentioned, is in an isolated area, set in the middle of the fields of a huge royal estate,” adds Stephen, noting the inspiration the duo took from that setting. “At one time, during World War II, it was an old radio building that broadcast fake German radio over the English Channel into occupied France.”
On To Be Cruel’s themes, Alan shares: “The album viscerally and metaphorically portrays a self-immolating destiny that perhaps ironically blames outside entities. There is a need for revenge but… against who and why?”
Stream the whole album below. Khanate's back catalog has also returned to streaming services, and physical reissues are on the way.