Katharos XIII – Negativity

Rating: 4.5/5
Label/Distributor: Loud Rage Music
Label/Distributor URL: http://loudragemusic.com/
Released: 2017
Buy Album: https://loudragemusic.bandcamp.com/album/katharos-xiii-negativity
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/KatharosXIII

Band line-up:

sQ – Bass
Egregor – Drums
Andrei – Guitars
Vlad – Keyboards
F. – Vocals/Guitars/Keyboards

Tracklistings:1kath

1. XIII
2. Negativity
3. No One Left To Lead The Way
4. The Chains Are So Beautiful
5. World’s Coffin
6. I Die Everytime I walk This Path
7. Inside

Album Review

Hailing from Timisoara in Romania, Katharos XIII play Black Metal of the epic, depressive variety. They boast in their ranks former members of Negură Bunget, Argus Megere, and Ordinal Negru; a definite pedigree. “Negativity” is their second album and showcases a band mining a rich vein of form. Apparently they draw much of their non musical inspiration from the uncanny likes of David Lynch and Emile Zola, and much of that vivid strangeness bleeds into their sound.

The album opens with “XIII”, a melodic chug-o-rama, featuring ethereal singing and rabid snarls, and the constant jackhammer of the bass drums. It is atmospheric in all the right places. Next up is the title track, a rasping malodorous cacophany, boasting a more pacy tempo and a pseudo Gothic mid-section. A slick and classy example of contemporary Black Metal.

“No One Left To Lead The Way” is a jarring juxtaposition of sounds, from the apocalyptic intro, to the tuneful mourning of the main riff, to the almost angelic keyboards. A masterclass. “The Chains Are So Beautiful” is even better, a necrotic voyage that chills to the bone. The vocals drone, and the guitars pick and prod like Leng T’che (the Chinese torture method, not the Belgian Grindcore band). The first half of the song is all atmosphere and no aggression, the second a veritable blizzard, and is topped with a tripped out, psychedelic ending. Glorious.

The abrasive slam of “World’s Coffin” is a more conventional Black Metal beast, with its unusual rhythms and grim aesthetic seamlessly mixed with flecks of Alternative Rock,  curious combination which is nevertheless effective. The gargantuan “I Die Evertime I Walk This Path” is next, and is not about the movie characters of Sean Bean, in spite of what the title might suggest. Progressive, spectral and darkly engaging, it is equal measures ugly and beautiful. The album closes with the melodeath cadaver spasm “Inside” which lurches from Kvlt to caramel and back again.

Katharos XII are clearly band with an inate sense of feeling and pacing; an instinct for when to pull back, and when to charge in. The occasional guitar hero solos add another layer to a palette that is anything but monochrome. The band’s dark passion is a breath of fresh air. Spectacular.

Review By Owen Thompson
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