Khanate End 14-Year Hiatus; New Album, To Be Cruel, Out Now

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Khanate, the experimental doom outfit featuring members of Sunn O))), OLD, and Blind Idiot God, have returned after a self-imposed, fourteen year hiatus. The band surprise released their fifth album, To Be Cruel, overnight, with the 3-track, 60 minute album available now via Sacred Bones Records (

Cover art for To Be Cruel

The New York-founded band simultaneously made their back catalogue, including Clean Hands Go Foul (2009), Capture & Release (2005), Things Viral (2003), and Khanate (2001), available once more via the various streaming services and with plans to reissue on physical formats in the near future.

The band members, who stayed in touch over the last decade-plus and often worked together on other projects, including releases from ÄÄNIPÄÄ, Khylst and Jodis, reconvened prior to the global shut down, writing and recording what would largely turn into To Be Cruel, with finishing touches being added in recent months.

“Stephen [O’Malley] and I had an opportunity to record music together for a Drag City compilation in 2016, it was then that we recognized we wanted to do more together. We booked an incredible studio in Woburn, England to record the guitar and drum parts that would become the basis of To Be Cruel,” explains drummer Tim Wyskida. “We shared those initial recordings with James [Plotkin] and Alan [Dubin], who were as motivated as we were to create new Khanate music. James began arranging the material and developing new ideas as soon as he heard the tracks, and Alan immediately started crafting the lyrics.”

“Orgone, the studio Tim mentioned, is in an isolated area, set in the middle of the fields of a huge royal estate,” adds Stephen, noting the inspiration the duo took from that setting. “At one time, during World War II, it was an old radio building that broadcast fake German radio over the English Channel into occupied France.”

On To Be Cruel’s themes, Alan shares: “The album viscerally and metaphorically portrays a self-immolating destiny that perhaps ironically blames outside entities. There is a need for revenge but… against who and why?”

To Be Cruel physical pre-orders are available now ( on a variety of limited-edition vinyl variants, and CD. The physical release will be in-stores June 30.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz