Written by: DR on 13/09/2011 15:04:21

From Leeds, England, we have instrumental two-piece Khuda. Having been around since 2007, but touring regularly since 2009, Khuda are yet to make their mark on the music scene in their home-country, but this, their second album, leaves me wondering why this is.

Granted, even as far as instrumental rock goes "Iecava" is not your most typical of releases. Although bands such as Russian Circles and Don Caballero are apt and justifiable referencing points for their sound, probably even influences on it, Khuda take a strong influence from less-trodden areas of music. A song like "Boreas" plays the dynamism of instrumental rock off against tribal-esque, ethnic drumming, for instance. I mean, even their song titles are odd: "Haikyo", "Seia", "Luka Mesto". Not that this is a drawback of "Iecava" though, because while it lacks any sort of real immediacy - partly due to the foreign influences and partly due to the deliberately raw production - it is one of those albums that, over repeated listens, grows on the listener.

The production is one of the biggest hurdles this album presents. Although each section of the band's sound is defined and crisp, the deliberately raw nature of it, like they actually recorded the album in a live setting, adds to the spacious scope of the record. After repeated listens, and after you've got over an aesthetic hurdle such as that, you'll appreciate efforts like "Haikyo" and "Marchmen" in particular as they play on the emptiness in the build-up to the aggressive wall-of-sound climaxes to good effect.

In conclusion, the musicianship on "Iecava" is impressive, and their desire to experiment has created something that is vaguely unique in an otherwise crowded genre. Where other bands are happy to ride on the coat-tails of more popular names and styles, Khuda are not afraid to establish their own identity. While I feel that there are a lot of ideas in "Iecava" that could have been further developed, meaning the album could have been more than it ultimately is, it's still nonetheless a good release from a band who may not be 'popular' just yet, but if/when they do get there, it will at least be on their own terms.


Download: Haikyo, Marchmen
For The Fans of: Russian Circles, Don Caballero, Kerretta
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 11.07.2011
Field Records

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