I Klatus Premiere Targeted in Full; Give Track-by-Track Breakdown

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Chicago purveyors of avant darkness, harsh metal, noise and sludge disaffection I Klatus are set to release their new album, Targeted, this Friday, April 1, through their own Dead Sage Records label. As with 2017’s Nagual Sun (review here) and 2013’s Kether (featured here), their volatility is their own on this fifth full-length. Their tribalism their own. As it has throughout their 20-plus years of existence, phasing into and out of our reality like a flash from some manipulated subdimensional core, their underlying chaos of mind feels sincere. The three-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Tom Denney (also visuals here and for a wide slew of others), bassist/vocalist John E. Bomher (Bury the Machines, Indian, Yakuza), who also mixed and mastered at Berwyn Recording, and drummer/vocalist Chris Wozniak (Lair of the Minotaur and that’s all you need) conjure a visceral, inward-born darkness. It is not accessible, or friendly, or kind. Targeted mangles with a grief born of addiction, mental illness, violence. While it’s nowhere near the most thrashing of sounds, to call it anything less than extreme is underselling it.

In just five tracks and 28 minutes, I Klatus portray this grim fascia of right now, utilizing a deceptive depth of arrangement and the inclusion of guest spots from Allison Chesley (aka Helen Money) on cello and Valentina Levchenko on vocalsi klatus targeted for opener “Solstice of Wind,” violin/cello from Joseph Starita on the subsequent “Shitback and Halfway Damned,” lyrics from Michael McEvoy on the especially gruesome “Dance With the Skulls in the Church,” and gongs and more from Patrick Hamilton on grinding centerpiece “Opium Cyborg” and the more extended closing title-track, which moves from its quiet beginning to cast its own post-sludgy vision of paranoia, conspiracy, and malevolence. If there is a soul, it is a thing to be mourned. Gone.

One could write a dissertation on the sociopolitical statement being inherently made. If this is some version of how a piece of the post-Rust Belt white working class views itself and its experience, then that is one more level on which I Klatus sound well and truly fucked. I’ll spare you the blah-blah-blah (this much, anyhow) and leave you instead to the morose back half of “Shitback and Halfway Damned,” the bleak krautrock of “Dance With the Skulls in the Church” and the anti-genre strive for understanding of “Targeted” itself. There’s performance happening here, of course — I Klatus didn’t just hit record and Targeted magically came out; these songs were built carefully and fleshed out even beyond the bounds of the trio themselves — but it’s rare to hear something raw enough at its heart to feel as authentic as this does in what it’s trying to convey.

You can stream the full album below, followed by a track-by-track generously put together by the band.

I’m not sure if “enjoy” is the right word, but maybe “appreciate” would work.

Either way, good luck:

PREORDER: https://iklatus.bandcamp.com/album/targeted

I Klatus on Targeted:

I Klatus started off as a college basement noise project just after the twin towers fell. Like the blob, the project consumed other artists, digesting their talent. It slowly grew in scope, embellishing the fundamentals of musicianship rooted in sonic exploration with downtuned guitars. The subtle frequencies, hums and grinding synthesizers have always reminded us of the sounds of madness, the type of white noise that comes to mind through transcendental meditation. It is at the core of our beliefs that Sonics are the Foundation of the Universe and by exploring the sounds of noise, we further delve into the expanse that is universal creation and we challenge the listener to join us on the journey and find the songs within the sounds. This is the fundamental groundwork by which all our songs take root and find expansion; like a tree growing through the floorboards of an abandoned society. Noise in a very real sense is a type of deity in itself. One that we take a knee to and worship wholeheartedly.

Immediately on the heels of “Nagual Sun,” the band went into seclusion in the cold mountain town of Snoqualmie, WA, to write and record a follow-up. 14 sunless days went by and in stark contrast to the summer sun filled experience of Los Angeles which inspired “Nagual Sun,” we forced ourselves to write without any distractions from jobs or family, without any sunshine or warmth. Just cold rain and troll spirits.

The entire concept of the album is about fear, addict ion, and psychosis. Confronting the self-obsessed fears often faced by those with mental health challenges such as schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder. Often times, these unfortunate victims of their own minds are terrorized by unseen entities which cause them to turn to drugs and other strange behavior to cope with the daily horrors which plague them. An irrational fear of being followed, tracked, and hunted. Fear of being implanted with microchips while unconscious; injecting shadow entities their nightmares, nightmares which bleed into daytime realities. The psychosis is infectious, affecting who you’re able to trust. Here we confront the harsh reality that we’re face to face with when these kinds of struggles affect our loved ones, and we find ourselves in a position of needing to protect ourselves from these unseen forces which are very real to the victims of such maladies.

Solstice of Wind

Air as an element is often associated with breath, life, communication, and the holy spirit connection. The solstice is when a star reaches its solar maximum. As far as we are concerned here on Earth, the Sun is our Lord, governing agriculture and survival. We revere and celebrate the abundance of life it brings. The tribal drums and ancient sonic tools (such as the bullroar) used to make the rhythmic patterns of this song symbolizes the breath of life, a petition to the Lord.

The lyrics channel the chaos energy of the dragon, a war cry. A vow to conquer the unknown and to meet the challenges of daily survival through the breath and the beat; petitioning the light to awaken the dawn of actualization. We beat the drums in hopes to open a portal to a place of reverence. An altar where the sonic ritual brings us to timelessness, which may end our suffering.

Shitback and Halfway Damned

A song that deals with having to take measures to protect yourself from people who were formerly very close to you. Friends and family members who become infected with this black ooze of fear and mind control. No matter if it comes from addiction to a foreign substance or a malfunction in the frontal cortex of the brain. The tension in the song reflects this notion that you must constantly be gripping some sort of weapon, metaphorically or physically. To constantly be on edge like you need to protect yourself from someone who you are required to allow entrance to your house, or your personal space, both fists clenched.

It features Joseph Starita (Hunt Hunt Hunt Camp, Unique Sheik) on the violins and cellos conjuring the feeling of being on sinking ship in a violent storm, water ripping you to shreds before sending you down into the briny depths to be lost forever in darkness.

Opium Cyborg

This song is about losing your humanity and your soul to the opiates. Injecting the flesh with some sort of synthetic that replaces the viability of human consciousness, thus overriding any sense of humanity and replacing it with a cybernetic high of mind. No longer capable of independent thought. No longer viewing the abilities of human empathy or emotion. It is about literally being transformed into a robot while trying to find God, through substances.

As if to say this attempt to find solace transforms you physically, mentally, and spiritually into a cybernetic automaton, going through the motions of being human but vacant of those sacred aspects which make up your “soul.” As I sit here writing this, I’m looking over my brother’s ravaged and mangled body, destroyed by years of abuse, wires and tubes coming out of everywhere, limbs lost… a casualty of this opioid crisis.

Dance With the Skulls in the Church

Inspired by the real-life case of the Hampstead Children, it tiptoes upon the precipice of the “eyes wide shut” realm of conspiracy and satanic ritual abuse. The unbelievable accusations of the children who said that the church leaders would practice dark rituals when the church doors were closed amongst a secret few elite in which they would actually dance in the church nude with the bleached skulls of murdered babies; by decree of archbishops and parents who would partake in the macabre dance ritual hidden beyond the gaze of decency, beyond the influence of the righteous.

This piece features the noisy textures of our label mate Patrick Hamilton (Viaverso) a Chicago mainstay with a strange ear for psychedelia and a first-hand knowledge of the horrors of which we speak. We were so pleased with his contributions to this one that we invited him to add his “gongs and robots” to the album’s title track.


Targeted is centered around the odd phenomenon of feeling subjugated and harassed by unseen forces of influence on a daily basis. People who believe they are targeted are somehow born into it because of their genetics. They are marked by unseen adversaries, be it elite government agencies or something higher, the end result being the consistent and unending harassment via an array of attack modules all of which share in common a specific undeniable scientific reality.

The deeper you delve into the targeted-individual psychosis the more you find out that it is a type of spiritual warfare where demons or entities from other dimensions not too dissimilar from aliens at Roswell, are shifting in and out of reality to cajole or attempt to belittle and over time harass into Insanity the victims. The purpose of this is unclear but victims describe something more akin to the poltergeist experience. In fact, seeing shadow beings in mirrors and having objects disappear or reappear, a spiritual warfare.

The battleground is the soul, and the war is fought for sanity. The victims of this psychosis seem to have no control over their reality and this to me is the most horrifying prospect imaginable. To wake up and have zero control over your substance, over your surroundings. Nothing could be more terrifying than this thought that there are overseeing demigods which have only mischief and chaos in mind for your life.

This strips you of autonomy. It strips you of your voice of creation because nothing you can do or say can extricate yourself from this environment of constant surveillance and individualized attacks. The worst and most terrifying aspect of this is that you are doomed to have no one believe you. What would you do if you woke up in this type of situation? What would any of us do?

Mixed and mastered by John E. Bomher at Berwyn Recording, with layout/artwork by Tom Denney, Targeted also features guest performances by Alison Chesley aka Helen Money (cello on “Solstice Of Wind), Valentina Levchenko (vocals on “Solstice Of Wind”), Joseph Starita (violin, cello on “Shitback And Halfway Damned”), Patrick Hamilton (gongs, robots on “Opium Cyborg” and “Targeted”), and guest lyricist Michael McEvoy on “Dance With The Skulls In The Church.”

Tom Denney – guitar, voice, noise
John E Bomher – bass, voice, noise
Chris Wozniak – drums, voice

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