For the Birmingham, U.K. duo’s fourth album, Khost has not so much redefined any of the parameters that doom-laden industrial/metal as much as Buried Steel simply presents a refined sense of focus and experimentation. Throughout these 14 tracks, the throaty roaring vocals and shrill layers of detuned tritonal guitars and synths burn with a hellish incendiary fury as the clamor and clank of the percussion, moving at an insistent and aggressively languid tempo, creeps menacingly through the speakers; the caustic bass and guitar tones merge with noisy ambient backdrops, much of which was culled from damaged analog equipment and reel-to-reel units recovered after an electrical fire, creating a sonic environment not unlike a factory in disrepair, bathed in fog and adorned with the natural world struggling to reclaim its rightful space as the stench of sweat and detritus fills the air. Furthermore, the song arrangements take many an irreverent and sometimes unexpected turn, such as on “Dog Unit” in which mangled and malfunctioning electronic rhythms give rise to sustained bursts of darkly melodic chord progressions, or on “Last Furnace” when distorted riffs like the blaring of Viking horns set to an interesting 10/8 time signature are overtaken by thrashy blackened guitars that sound like they were ripped from the throat of an early Bathory or Mayhem album. The same can be said of “December Bureau,” as a merciless battle for dominance is waged between the steely drum patterns and the strummed power chords, the distortion like a meat grinder whose teeth have eroded into impotent nubs. The last two tracks are perhaps the most ominous and intricate as “A Non Temporal Crawlspace” makes brilliant use of reversed guitar and bittersweet acoustic passages, interrupted briefly by a cacophonous wall of grinding, guttural noise that dissipates into an ethereal narration that ends in harrowing fashion, while Mothboy’s dub remix of “Intravener” takes the original version’s ghostly hovering vocal and suspends it into an eerily disembodied ambient swell, the cavernously reverberant stabs of percussion, flashes of sampled drum loops, and ethereal keyboard pads making for a disconcerting track to Buried Steel to a close. Although not a dramatic departure from past outings like Governance and Corrosive Shroud, Andy Swan and Damian Bennett demonstrate a clear artistic vision that makes Buried Steel a fine and effective addition to the annals of industrial doom.