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CD Review: Throne of Katarsis – An Eternal Dark Horizon

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throneofkatarsis aneternaldarkhorizonThrone of Katarsis isn't for the impatient.  On the Norwegian band's debut full-length, An Eternal Dark Horizon, it unfolds five songs over 55 minutes.  Overdubbing must have been a bitch, not to mention writing and playing these opuses.  The results are deep, but take time to sink in.

Unholy Holocaustwinds and Blodslakt, the band's two demos, contain raw versions of four of the five tracks here (Blodslakt never received official release, but Unholy Holocaustwinds has, in multiple formats).  Not only has the band lengthened the UH tracks, it's given them proper studio treatment.  That doesn't mean polish; this is black metal, after all.  But vocals now have reverbs tailing off into the distance, acoustic guitars wax luminous with string squeaks, and the presentation is more epic.

The acoustic guitars stand out; the band isn't afraid to drop them into a forest of buzzsaw electrics.  It's not quite folk metal, but the move feels woodsy, even smoky.  The electric work is interesting, too, with spicy pick rakes and jazzy chords.  Blastbasts are present, of course, but not to crush; instead, they clatter along as background pulses.  Vocals range from croaks to rasps, and are functional, though undistinguished.

Most of the album is midpaced; even when blastbeats kick in, it still feels like it's jogging.  Thus, it falls between, say, the storming attack of Immortal and the depressive drone of Xasthur.  It's grim, cold, and distant.  But if you listen closely, you'll hear many details – a hermit playing guitar to himself, the crackle of a fire, the crunch of footsteps in the snow.


Throne of Katarsis official website
Candlelight Records





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