TO be honest with you, Constant Reader, we have struggled to get to grips with the Khaøs release 'Risen' for some weeks now. They tread a fine line of powerful hard rock and strident objectionable resolve and schmaltz as they emerge from land-locked Switzerland.

Take for example the transition from the full-on, almost metal, roar of  'Crisis Factor' to 'Exalted', a song Danny Vaughn would be proud to have penned.

Finding a 'right way' to classify the sound of Khaøs for readers is pretty difficult - but that doesn't mean this is a poor album. Quite the reverse - it is polished, accomplished and eminently listenable for all hard rock fans.

image Frontman Chandler Mogel has a sublime voice for this type of music, reaching heights and exploring vocalist's darkest underbelly on the likes of the angry stomp of 'Loaded Question'.

This is no 'cock and pussy' hard rock, dripping with clichés and innuendos. There is substance behind all the hard rock/classic rock flourishes and melodies.

Guitarist Mark Rossi said: “The subject matter transcends individual boundaries, hearkening to darker scenarios yet striving for resolution. The lyrical approach follows a trend of maintaining hope while facing difficulty and conflict. All the evil of mankind cannot suppress the people if they won’t let it. Aside from the lyrics and tone, the project’s unifying element is one of hard rock expression, which defies definition with every song.”

Frontman Chandler Mogel (also of Outloud & Chrome Public) added: “Musically and lyrically ‘Risen’ is a continuation from ‘Rising’, which was just a taste but began to touch on some of the deeper subject matter that I wanted to develop further into my writing;

"I had also been writing some Outloud songs with deeper meanings but for me it wasn't really working in that setting. I knew I needed a different approach musically for it, and Khaøs seemed like the right fit so I channeled this focus there. I wanted an outlet to really convey problems with society, personal struggles, mental mechanisms, and the reasons for all of this. As always I leave the lyrics open to interpretation from the listener as each person will take something different from them, but these are general themes that are prevalent here.”

For all of that 'Hung The Moon' is a beautiful song. Boy bands, pop I
impresarios and greedy label executives would sell their first born to get the rights to this if they ever heard it.

Rossi's sensitive touch adds pathos and bathos in equal quantities.

But the potential problem we have with Khaøs is exactly the disconnect between the music and lyrics. Too often a song that could have been 'boy meets girl and they fuck' ends up almost proselytising about the state of society in 2015.

Set that aside and what you have is an album with a Janus touch. One side of the face is an excellent take on hard rock, while on the other hand there are lyrics to challenge.

Overall - the weeks that we spent getting to know Khaøs output on Risen was worth it.

Review by Jonny


Authors: Jonny

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