Hailing form Stockholm Sweden, Katharos could be well on their way to being one of Black Metals shining acts. With a decade of experience under their belt already, debut album “Exuvian Heraldry” is a battering ram of sound, ready to cement Katharos in the scene. Originally released independently in December of last year, “Exuvian Heraldry” has been rereleased via new label Sliptrick on vinyl and digital download.
Personally speaking, black metal is not something I listen to often, however I dived into this album head first and it more than paid off. I have found myself going back to this album time and time again, subjecting myself to the immense wall of sound that is “Exuvian Heraldry.”
The album opens slowly with “Abadonnas Intåg”, as soft pianos lead you straight into the chaos. Loud, aggressive chaos. The piano continues throughout, complimenting the guitars and adding an extra layer to the music. This is seen throughout the album, mixed with instances of almost silence, creating a completely immersive listening experience.
The symphonic elements make this more than just a metal album. “De Cinere’s” almost choral backing and closing track “Awaking of the Converted’s” beautifully menacing ending really peaked my interest and kept me wanting more. With most songs on the album being over the 8 minuet mark, that is vital. There were moments however that my interest did seem to fade, for example with track number five, “Scacht”. I feel that it is the weakest track on the album and slightly too repetitive, almost a poorer version of songs alrteady on this album. Each track is unique, were as I feel “Scacht” is not. Clocking in at nearly nine minuets, it really took me out of the zone and I have found myself skipping the track on some of my more recent listens.
Having at first been rather hesitant about this black metal mayhem, I can say with confidence that “Exuvian Heraldry” is a strong debut album for Katharos. They have set a solid foundation to build and improve upon for future releases, which I will almost certainly be checking out. It has set them up really take off and I will be looking forward to any live dates as these tracks could become a fantastic live show!
Highlights: “Thy Fortress of Regrets”, “Abadonnas Intåg”
For fans of: Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Death
“Exuvian Heraldry” is available for digital download and on vinyl now
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Review by Alex Rawstorne