Said to be the best selling act on Diehard Records, Konkhra definitely have a huge potential to become the next "big thing" to come out of the death metal underground after Sepultura and Entombed. Basically nothing short of being a supergroup, this now American-Danish quartet created quite a stir in the underground press with their previous release titled Spit or Swallow. At that time their sound could be defined as "death'n'roll" ever so popular in Europe. However, with the addition of ex-Machine Head drummer Chris Kontos and an omnipresent James Murphy, Konkhra has definitely moved in the aggro-metal direction best defined by the drummer's ex-band's first album. Though much heavier and without lame attempts at becoming a new big-hair metal sensation, Weed Out The Weak could just be the breakthrough the band deserved.
To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed at first, when I realized that Weed Out The Weak isn't going to be another typical Scandinavian death metal assault, that smashes you against the wall five seconds after you put the CD on. Yet all the elements that we came to expect from the bands from this particular region are present: dynamic songwriting, well-delivered and put together songs, catchy sound. However, the vocals have become somewhat softer with this album, and that's somewhat a letdown.
Recorded in 2 different studios Weed Out The Weak does sport a very consistent production job. Instruments are clearly separated without any loss of heaviness, and there are no weak points as far as musicianship goes. The songs are pretty memorable for the kind of music Konkhra plays, with a lot of virtuoso guitar parts intertwined into somewhat sludgy material presented by the band. James Murphy has a definite talent to liven up the music on even totally lackluster albums such as Death Shall Rise by Cancer (remember the horror of realizing that you just paid $13 for that piece of garbage?). His feeling of melody is unsurpassed, and it's at its best on the track called "Pain and Sorrow" tacked in at the end of the album. "Misery" should also be mentioned as one of the highlights of the album.
As far as the individual songs go, there are some tracks that you get to like automatically upon the first listen. Such is "Time Will Heal" with its thrash structure and pounding rhythm or "Through My Veins" that has won the title of the catchiest song on the album (is it already singled out for radio play?). Again, I have to mention an exceptionally masterful representation of the material that could turn out to be another Pantera-like boring piece of garbage. Konkhra's frontman Anders Lundemark puts in a lot of deep emotion with vocals varied from growls to powerful spoken word that accentuates the band's thoughtful lyrics. It's especially evident on "Melting" which is also one of my favorite tracks. Chris Kontos delivers solid drumming, with a lot of energy that wasn't that evident on any of the Machine Head recordings with him. I guess that he made a right choice, especially considering that the latest outing from his ex-band was very disappointing. Who's loss is this anyway?
Overall, Weed Out The Weak is a definite step in the right direction for this American-Danish band. I hope that this album will receive a decent distribution in the States, without being just limited to just mail order (even though it could wonders for any talented band - take Cradle of Filth as an example). This album will of course be viewed by many as betrayal of their brutal death metal roots… but I don't see it this way. I think that the band has put enough effort combined with genuine talent and love for extreme music into this album to make it noteworthy. But I do recommend giving this album at least 2-3 spins before making a judgement. And remember: a process of natural selection can not be stopped…..