PAN.THY.MONIUM — Khaooohs & Kon-Fus-Ion

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PAN.THY.MONIUM - Khaooohs & Kon-Fus-Ion cover
4.02 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1996

Tracklist

1. The Battle of Geeheeb (11:55)
2. Thee-Pherenth (14:49)
3. Behrial (6:39)
4. In Remembrance (1:00)

Total Time: 34:25

Line-up/Musicians

- Robert Karlsson "Derelict" / vocals
- Dag Swanö "Aag" / lead guitars, soprano saxophone, "noises"
- Robert Ivarsson "Mourning" / rhythm guitars
- Dan Swanö "Day Disyraah" / basses, keyboards, Fx
- Benny Larsson "Winter" / drums, cymbals, percussion

About this release

Khaooohs & Kon-Fus-Ion
1996 CD Relapse / CD 6936-2
Khaooohs & Kon-fus-ion
2007 CD Mystic Empire / MYST CD 249 Russian Federation
Khaooohs & Kon-Fus-Ion Relapse 25th Anniversary Silver Mailorder Exclusive 33 rpm, Colored Vinyl, Digital Download, Limited Edition
2015 Vinyl LP Relapse / RR6936 United States
Khaooohs & Kon-Fus-Ion 33 rpm, Digital Download, Limited Edition
2015 Vinyl LP Relapse / RR6936 United States
Khaooohs & Kon-Fus-Ion 33 rpm, Colored Vinyl, Digital Download, Limited Edition
2015 Vinyl LP Relapse / RR6936

Thanks to siLLy puPPy for the updates

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PAN.THY.MONIUM KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Necrotica
Hearing the first few moments of Khaooohs and Kon-Fus-Ion can be pretty jarring for some listeners. A cavernous down-tuned doom metal riff is met with a guitar solo you’d normally hear in a 12-bar blues song at the local pub; it’s a weird combination and doesn’t seem like it should work, yet it does. And that’d might as well be the summary for Pan.Thy.Monium’s music: they play shit that shouldn’t work and somehow does. One of the easiest pitfalls avant-garde metal bands often fall victim to is putting way too much random stuff in their songs without accounting for the actual songwriting quality. Luckily, I can say with utmost confidence that Khaooohs and Kon-Fus-Ion doesn’t fall into this trap. The first two tracks - which take up the majority of the record with their epic lengths - are incredibly adventurous while knowing when to break up the insanity to take a breather. For instance “The Battle of Geeheeb” periodically lets soaring guitar solos take center-stage, most of which are highly melodic and inspired by traditional 80s metal. Everytime the album threatens to fly off the handle, the band manage to find ways to keep the experience grounded.

Then again, I suppose this isn’t much of a surprise given the band’s leading songwriter, who happens to be legendary musician and producer Dan Swano. At this point, his name was already a seal of quality in the progressive death metal realm; in fact, his 40-minute one-song masterwork Crimson would be released the same year as Khaooohs and Kon-Fus-Ion, merely a month apart. So it’s no wonder that the songwriting here is as focused as it is experimental. Getting back to the music, “Thee-Pherenth” is an even more dense and difficult affair than the opener; wailing saxophones, off-kilter guitar riffs, strange time signatures, dark ambient passages, and even some hints of black metal are all found in this tune. There’s even a really catchy funk metal riff midway into the song, which reminds me a lot of that groovy riff found in Gorguts’ “Nostalgia”. But again, keeping in line with what I stated earlier, this off-the-wall moment is still met with a melodic guitar solo that slows things down and balances out the craziness. There are also some strange synthesizers that sound like a mix of Sadist’s Tribe album and classic Playstation music. The beauty of music like this is that - especially when you’re listening to it for the first time - the unpredictability of such experimental metal makes the experience genuinely exciting.

Finally, we get to those other two songs. However, “In Remembrance” isn’t really a song; in fact, it’s just one minute of silence. Perhaps it’s meant as an audio representation of a real-life “moment of silence”, although I do wish there was an actual outro. Meanwhile, “Behrial” might just be the most surprising thing on the record. Instead of another intense prog-death number, we’re greeted with calming, angelic keyboards; the weirdest thing about this track is that there’s nothing eerie or creepy going on in the background. The entire song is just… beautiful. It’s repetitive, but it puts you in a state of peace and relaxation with its otherworldly sense of atmosphere. It’s a perfect wind-down track after two very intense and complex epics, and it ends Khaooos and Kon-Fus-Ion on a wonderful note. Simply put, this band is a bit of an anomaly. I’m not sure what bands I’d even lump this music in with, and that’s what makes Pan.Thy.Monium so special; they were a singular, idiosyncratic group that allowed Dan Swano to get as creative and experimental as he could. If you enjoy avant-garde metal and are looking for something that's truly original and compelling in its many oddities, you can’t go wrong here.
siLLy puPPy
PAN.THY.MONIUM, the side project of Swedish extreme metal veteran Dan Swanö cranked out the debut EP and first two albums out fairly quickly in the early 90s but as Edge Of Sanity became more popular in the blossoming extreme metal underground, Swanö focused most of energy in that direction as well as divvying up his energies into other bands like Godsend, Nightingale, Maceration, Overflash, Subway Mirror and even a neo-prog project called Unicorn. The man was obsessed and Sweden’s answer to Mike Patton’s restless pursuit of the next project. Despite his full plate, he found time in his busy schedule to release the last chapter of the PAN.THY.MONIUM trilogy which ended in 1996 with KHAOOOHS AND KON-FUS-ION.

For this last installment in the PAN.THY.MONIUM multiverse, the band (same lineup on all four releases: Robert Karlsson “Derelict” (vocals), Dag Swanö "Aag" (lead guitars, soprano saxophone, “noises,”) Robert Ivarsson "Mourning" (rhythm guitars), Dan Swanö "Day Disyraah" (basses, keyboards), Benny Larsson "Winter" (drums, cymbals, percussion)) continues their unique avant-garde take on the possibilities of marrying progressive rock with death doom metal and implement both aspects of the earlier albums into their grande finale. While the debut “Dawn Of Dreams” focused more on the progressive touches in a death doom context, the sophomore followup “Khaooohs” experimented more with textures, tones, timbres and sound effects.

KHAOOOHS AND KON-FUS-ION only contains four tracks however the closing “In Rememberence” is nothing more than one minute of silence whereas the penultimate “Behrial” eschews the metal paradigm altogether and creates a swirling synthesized symphony of some sort of darkwave chamber rock that lasts nearly seven minutes which leaves only two tracks of recognizable music that represent the true frenetic and fertile ground of the PAN.THY.MONIUM sound established on the previous recordings which continue the process of taking the listener to an entirely bizarre parallel universe where none of the established rules apply. Although there are only two “real” tracks, they are both quite lengthy and clock in at over 30 minutes.

“The Battle Of Geeheeb” begins with doom metal riffing and bluesy guitar licks before the chugging and death growls regurgitate from the underworld with the eerie atmosphere oozing out and the percussive drive outlining the main frame of the musical drive. The track displays not only the rotisserie of stylistic changes with electronic effects and psychedelic segments but also deliveries plenty of progressively infused angularities with time signature rich freneticism between the chugging riffs and just plain weird moments when everything stops and a lone saxophone squawks up a storm. The whole thing does evoke a battle where the guttural death growls are directing and orchestrating the army of sound to attack some unknown enemy.

“Thee-Pherenth” becomes even more unstable with doom riffs, down-tuned acoustic guitar arpeggios and a more dirge-like snail paced tempo but doesn’t waste much time jumping into jazzy metal territory with a bizarre dance of time signature rich jitteriness that grows in intensity. The KHAOOOS part of the equation is balanced out by melodic guitar licks and subtle keyboard backdrops to keep some sort of anchoring process to the unhinged metallic fury. KON-FUS-ION lurks around every corner as the heavy metal bombast can switch to a segment of weird sound effects or psychedelic meanderings but bounces back with bluesy metal shuffles. While a “constant menu of variations” is the de facto motto of PAN.THY.MONIUM, this track seems to dish out more than the usual portions and all the better for it.

While Swanö saved his best avant-garde beasts for last, the problem with this album is that it only contains two lengthy gems and two tracks that are really unnecessary. For greater effect, the synthesizer rich “Behrial” which is more or less a mood enhancer should have been inserted between the two real stars of the show and then shortened by about half. The last track which is a minute of silence should’ve just been removed or some sort of weird frenetic finale that went out in a bang. Of course, the band could not predict the illogical nature of this once translated into the modern era of ripping CDs onto hard drives but still, it seems like a wasted opportunity. Unfortunately only two of the tracks are of masterpiece status and the other two are filler. A great conclusion to one of extreme metal’s most interesting bands but a bad ending for what started out as one of the band’s best albums. Still worth the price of admission for the first two tracks.
Warthur
The bizarre close to Pan.Thy.Monium's concept album trilogy finds the Edge of Sanity side project going out on a high. The running time here is pretty brief, with only the first two tracks really offering the sort of full bore avant-death metal the group is known for and the last two providing an ambient coda to the sequence, so perhaps they realised that their weird house style was running out of steam, but what a high to go out on, rampaging though a Mr Bungle-esque calvacade of musical styles with sometimes only the "burping frog" vocals to retain the death metal connection.

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