Wednesday, 10 August 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Katalepsy - “Gravenous Hour”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/05/2016
Label: Unique Leader Records




“this being a death metal album in the new school vein, the instruments are all handled expertly. You get pinched harmonics galore, a kit with many different cymbal sounds and an excellent bass sound. The tracks clip by at a focused rate; “To The Lords of Nihil” and “Critical Black Mass” focus on twists and turns and turn up the extremity admirably.  All in all “Gravenous Hour” is 40 minutes of deathly delight for fans of the genre!

“Gravenous Hour” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). In the Dark of Stars
2). Blinded Sultan
3). To the Lords of Nihil
4). Critical Black Mass
5). The Long Bright Darkness
6). Monastary of Nothing
7). After Omega
8). Grave New World
9). Ghoul Inquisitor
10). Tephra
11). In the River of Red


The Review:

Album number two for these death metal masters brings with it a sense of expectation. The intro strikes the right note- burbling bass, beastly drum sound and then things kick off with “Blindead Sultan”. First things first, it is fast- lots of blasts, lots of stridently pounding snare and china cymbals. There are time changes, of course, but a lot is at warp speed- there are moments of slam, but not as many as in the past.

Naturally, this being a death metal album in the new school vein, the instruments are all handled expertly. You get pinched harmonics galore, a kit with many different cymbal sounds and an excellent bass sound. It goes without saying that the production is crystal clear and cutting edge, with the vocals suitably low and actually well mixed in with the overall sound. The tracks clip by at a focused rate; “To The Lords of Nihil” and “Critical Black Mass” (some great riffing passages in this one) focus on twists and turns and turn up the extremity admirably. All tracks bar one are actually under five minutes in length with many in the same ball park in terms of playing time, riff numbers and approach.

Katalepsy, then, are operating in the arena of death metal which is not tech-death, not trad-death but... modern death metal. How much interest you will have in the album will really be based on how much interest you have in the genre. For those not already into death metal this record will not persuade you otherwise. “Monastery of Nothing”, for example, is brutal, fast and incomprehensible to non-fans of the genre. None if this is to say that any death metal band is trying to break out of their chosen pigeonhole or pick up cross genre fan bases, of course. It just feels that the glory days of the early 90's where the genre was briefly the next BIG thing are long in the past.

It is an irony that bands such as Katalepsy are ever improving the musicianship and production values of the genre to ever lower listener numbers- it is also grossly unfair. This is a fine death metal record, played with laser precision and deserving to be heard by probably many more than will actually hear it. The album is no less potent through the back stretch- “Grave New World and “Ghoul Inquisitor” (classic opening production trick!) match anything at the front end for speed and brutality.

The last track with vocals, “Tephra”, is a head banger for sure and the record ends appropriately with an instrumental setting a creepy note to end on. To my ears this is a good death metal record, but perhaps not a great one- no disgrace, mind, as I would qualify that by saying that in comparison Deicide's debut is “great” while the follow up “Legion” merely “good”... All in all, that makes “Gravenous Hour” 40 minutes of deathly delight for fans of the genre!

‘Gravenous Hour’ is available here


Band info: facebook

RIYL: Kronos, Pathology, Ingested, Cerebral Bore

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