Noise mangling duo Khost seem to be on a roll at the moment. They are playing no shortage of shows which is where I first unsuspectingly caught them and this is their sixth release since 2014. Last encountered being deconstructed by Godflesh and sharing their spiritual home of Birmingham, musically they can be a million miles away from the UK scrapyards and steelworks injecting a serious Middle Eastern vibe into their music. This is what they did kind of disconcertingly when I first saw them and it is something which is further explored on ‘Governance’. I guess it’s hardly surprising coming from a group who share their name with a city in Afghanistan. Be warned Khost do not play particularly ‘likeable’ music, it’s designed to take you to an uncomfortable place and Governance could even be described as quite a harrowing listening experience. Time to confront it.

Tongue twisting first track ‘Redacted Repressed Recalcitrant’ is straight into those Arabic sounding chants placed over layers of dissonant sound before low guttural growls rumble out and mystical sounding melodies. It really does set you on edge straight away and bristles with danger as it slowly churns away with doom-laden hostility. Track titles are scary enough in their own right, ‘Subliminal Chloroform Violation’ making me think of an early Skinny Puppy attack for example. Female choral vocals are added here and as for the track itself and the music I don’t think it would be unfair calling it a dirge as it sluggishly grinds the listener down. Eastern pipes sinuously twist around a flaming hot desert as oil-fields burn, well that’s the image in my head whilst listening to ‘Low Oxygen Silo.’ If they hadn’t already used it Godflesh ‘Songs Of Love And Hate’ would make the perfect album cover here.

An almost dictatorial and militant slow beat smothers ‘Cloudbank Mausoleum’ with a near stifling stench of poison and death. Think industrial martial doom as a description and it’s a bit like listening to NKVD and just as ugly. Yep there is going to be little found in the way of pleasant descriptions in the review but there is nothing ‘nice’ about the music on display either. The likes of ‘Demenized’ and ‘Depression’ illustrate times of unease and sickness including we are told a near death experience that the pair went through whilst putting this album together. It really feels like they fed off it and put into musical form here. There is nothing in the way of levity to be found, even in a short piece of Crass like poetry found at the midway point. This is an album to endure and not one to enjoy!

Complete with a remix of one track ‘Coven’ by Israeli artist Adrian Stainburner the experience lasts around the 45 minute mark but leaves you feeling like you have been dragged through every grim and diseased emotion possible. Perhaps in constructing this Khost have dredged up a perfect soundtrack to the hell that is going on in the world during these terrible times, if anything it could help herald it onto the extinction that seems more and more inevitable on a daily basis. All well and good if that is what you are looking for but this is an album that should definitely be approached with utmost caution.

(7/10 Pete Woods)