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mercoledì 23 aprile 2014

Throne of Katarsis - The Three Transcendental Keys

#FOR FANS OF: Norwegian Black Metal, Immortal, early Mayhem
The fourth full-length effort from Norwegian Black Metal purists Throne of Katarsis is a dense, meaty effort of old-school Black Metal that might be one of the most epic pieces of music ever created out of the scene, not for the lasting impact it’ll have on the genre as a whole but the general weight of the record itself. Boasting only three epic, monumental tracks for just under fifty minutes combined, there’s a lot to take in on this record and it certainly evokes such warranted replays for this is a record based more on the writing of the three pieces than the actual music itself. Naturally, of a record like this the first question asked is about the writing: how does this stay interesting for the duration on an average of fifteen minutes a song? The answer is pretty good, as the evocative, dreary music does manage to make a series of occult passages seem like natural causes for the band, opting to place this as a really atmospheric record that conjures the might and cold of a snowbound forest quite effectively, with raw, blaring guitars and low-fi recording styles producing the eerie feel required to effectively capture the early '90s scene throughout, and with it comes the requisite growling and howls that have long been associated with the genre. The fact is, though, what really keeps this from moving from ‘pretty good’ to ‘amazingly’ is the fact that the songs are so simplistic in their approach it really stretches the brain as for why they’re this long. Rather than weaving through intricate layers of riffing, obscure instrumentation or other facets that would justify why you would produce such an epic-length track, the band instead sticks to reproducing the same droning patterns and tremolo-picked melodies against the same drum-patterns throughout this one’s duration, effectively making it seem like you could be anywhere within the track as it’s playing and you wouldn’t know. "The Second Transcendental Key" is really the only one of the group that sticks out for it’s more of a melodic, plodding pace at first then weaves in more atmospheric sections before settling on honing it’s mid-tempo pace throughout the remaining minutes. It’s the same basic, blaring guitar riffs over low-fi production, thumping drums and screams just in extended, epic movements which really doesn’t make for a coherent experience if attempted in one sitting. This is clearly meant for one continuous listen based on the rather profound and noteworthy methods of employing the primal atmosphere and bestial aggression that made the early Norwegian bands so fun to begin with, but when it’s the same droning patterns going on and on after fifteen minutes a pop throughout these tracks, the decision to do a record of this length does become an issue. It’s certainly good at aping the source material and the arrangements do have a frostbitten vibe that makes them stand-out from the pack nicely, but the songwriting might need a little tightening up next time around. (Don Anelli)

(Candlelight - 2013)
Score: 70