Doom metal may be the only genre where the words "dismal" and "wretched" are used as compliments, but if that seems strange, then take a brief listen to this album -- very much a doom metal recording -- and then try to imagine the band taking issue with such descriptions. Everything about it is carefully designed to evoke some feeling of pain, dread, or misery. The tempos are exaggeratedly slow, the vocals are yelped out in a high-pitched streak, the bass is distorted and sludgy, and the guitar spews out blasts of acidic feedback all over the place. But, Khanate realizes the difference between "good" dismal and "bad" dismal. Their songs are memorable, if unsettling -- "Pieces of Quiet" and "Skin Coat" are as close as this kind of discordant, snail-paced music comes to being "catchy" -- and they know how to pace their movements well enough to keep their ten-plus minute songs from wearing out their welcome. The production is also excellent, resulting in a very textured sound that's well defined on both the low end and the high end. All in all, an impressive debut that should appeal to fans of this type of bitter, black-hearted doom metal as much as it should repulse pretty much the rest of the listening public.