Germany's outfit Katharsis
were to black metal what Captain Beefheart was to blues music: chaotic, demonic and hysterical.
666 (Sombre, 2000) delivered brutal, ferocious, demented black metal of the Darkthrone variety, specializing in
reckless percussion and morbid shrieks.
This brief album opens with the tribal horror hysteria
of 666, which nonetheless manages to sound more melodic than the
average of black metal, like a hybrid of bubblegum-pop and psychobilly.
Miasmatic vocals do little to lift Thy Horror from mediocrity, but
the song is redeemed by the demonic crescendo of the last minute.
The musique-concrete noise in the middle of Raped By Demons / Massacrament is another highlight that rescues a tepid song.
For sheer intensity, nothing beats The Black Grail, which is
more orthodox in its homogeneous and relentless sonic onslaught, a
wall of oscillating guitar noise and primitive drumming and blastbeats.
Lunar Castles (Harvest) is similar, but the vocals actually try to tell
a story amid the percussive bacchanal.
Nazarene - Into The Flame, that opens with a minute of abstract
soundpainting, turns out to be the fastest and more ferocious song,
appropriately ending with a cannon-like explosion.
Kruzifixxion (Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2003)
sounds like a transitional work. There isn't much that hasn't been heard before
in The Last Wound and Painlike Paradise, and the melodic
experiment of The Chosen One is not exactly breathtaking.
Speed does not equate with originality. The longest piece and centerpiece,
Blood Stainth The Temple Stones, is chaotic to the point of
They left behind the stereotypes of the genre on
VVorld VVithout End (Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2006), their madly incoherent peak.
The vocals are reverbed like in the demonic psychedelic rock of the 1960s.
Last but not least, they play much longer pieces.
The eight-minute Eden Belovv sets the standard for the rest of the
album: manic fury erecting solid, impenetrable walls of guitar cacophony
at lightning speed while the insane singer warbles/vomits indifferent to the
They actually pause to breathe a couple of times in Kross Fyre, whose
insane rattling is launched by circus-like drumming.
The drumming turns to farcical (something you'd expect from a kindergarten
band) for the eleven-minute VVytchdance, trying to evoke a
danse macabre in no less spasmodic style, but the singing (when it is not
simply reciting) sounds more like an "Indian" war howl
and (when it is not howling) sounds more like psychedelic delirium,
and the ending is a dense cosmic dissonant drone.
The vocalist definitely steals the show in the
eight-minute Ascent From Ghoulgotha, despite the even more massive
charge of the guitars and drums in the first four minutes.
The 16-minute VVorldVVithoutEnd intones a grotesque pow-wow dance
before a protracted shriek opens the psychological hellgates of singer Drakh.
From that point on the "music" follows his stream of consciousness, that even
includes a couple of bluesy minutes (until the breakdown of minute 10)
and an emphatic melodic theme, and 13 minutes into the song (after another
break) a "choral" effect seems to imply a final crescendo, but instead
in the last minute the song slowly fades out in a sneering tone.
By comparison, Fourth Reich (Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2009).
sounds streamlined and normalized. The vocals sound ordinary even when they
shriek and the drumming rarely achieves extreme speed.
The 13-minute So Nail the Hearts is stereotypical until
the eight-minute mark when the rhythm turns into a panzer boogie,
dissonance is piled up on top of the hypnotic repetitive riff, and
a ghostly voice seeps through the cracks.
The ten-minute Eucharistick Funereall is more monolithic affair,
a stubborn massacre that only slows down a bit after seven minutes.
Terrifying vocals dominate Reckoning, quite a contrast with what
comes next: the synth-driven instrumental Emeralde Graves.
The ten-minute Sinn Koronation takes five minutes to get started in
earnest, almost a declaration of exhaustion/saturation, and an anthemic
guitar solo sounds like a "goodbye" of sorts to the orthodoxy of black metal,
not to mentionthe symphonic gothic finale.
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