Album Review – Katharos XIII / Negativity (2017)

After the 56 minutes of intense and pensive Depressive Suicidal Black Metal thoroughly crafted by this Romanian quartet reach deep into your soul, you’ll never be the same again.

Born in 2007 in the city of Timișoara, the main social, economic and cultural centre in western Romania located around 550km northwest of the capital Bucharest, and functioned in the early days as a one-man band until de beginning of the recordings of the demo Silver Melancholy in late 2008, self-released in 2009, Depressive Suicidal Black Metal act Katharos XIII return after their 2011 debut Dead Emotions with their second full-length installment, titled Negativity, comprised of seven tracks emerged from the dark chambers of human psyche, questions and deep melancholy into black chords, a truly unique combination of different layers and influences.

Featuring a somber artwork by Romanian artist Alexandru Das (Argus Megere, North, Ordinul Negru), Negativity offers the listener an amalgamation of personal experiences (all kinds of abuse, paranoia, severe depressions), strange stories, movies (Greenaway, Lynch) and books (Eliade, Cioran, Zola), all thoroughly put together by the talented F on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Andrei on guitars, SQ on bass and Sabbat on drums, resulting in a unique experience of extreme music for admirers of the genre. And if you feel your heart got darker after listening to the album’s 56 minutes of intense and pensive Black Metal, that means Katharos XIII succeeded in sending you the desired message through their disturbing music.

Opening the album on a high note we have XIII, a modern approach to Black Metal sounding very melodic and epic thanks to the excellent guitars by F and Andrei, with the devilish gnarls by F bringing more obscurity to the overall result. Moreover, its riffs get to a very traditional mode halfway through it, while the song’s atmosphere keeps growing in intensity and mystery, flowing to an ominous ending led by the demonic vociferations by F. Slightly different than its predecessor, the title-track Negativity goes full Black Metal, overflowing blast beats, flammable riffs and infernal growls, also presenting elements from Atmospheric Black Metal and Doom Metal, not to mention its disturbing lyrics (“Burn in the kingdom of the blind / A garden that cannot be seen / By the ones who ignore the creation / The path of the eternal self-torment”) and its beyond somber break.

The steady beats by Sabbat together with the darkened keys by F create a truly somber ambience in No One Left to Lead the Way, a perfect fusion of Black Metal with Blackened Doom supported by a strong harmonious background, flowing into a smooth but very obscure ending; followed by The Chains are so Beautiful, where a melancholic and grim beginning led by Sabbat with his sluggish beats and bassist SQ with his low-tuned roars gradually leans towards old school Doom Metal, supporting the very macabre spoken words by F (“I will tell you a story / Stories as we all like to hear / The amphetamine has won the game / Enslaving the pain inside soul / Close your eyes and sleep tight / While the angels watch you closely / Nothing bad to happen to you / Only to fall into their arms”), before exploding into visceral and deranged Black Metal until its introspective finale.

Spearheaded by the piercing riffs by Andrei, World’s Coffin sounds like a blackened waltz, with F grasping his words bestially, blending old school Black Metal with contemporary Symphonic Black Metal the likes of Dimmu Borgir. Furthermore, the bass by SQ keeps rumbling in a demonic way in the background, topped with a soulful solo by Andrei. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path brings forward a serene and contemplative intro, generating a comforting but at the same time perturbing ambience where F instead of growling simply grasps in a vile manner. Not only that, tempestuous moments are thoroughly inserted in this Blackened Doom aria, with the beautiful work done by Andrei and SQ with their strings taking you to a dark dimension ruled by Katharos XIII. Lastly, closing this amazing album of extreme music the band offers a darkened assault titled Inside, with Sabbat pounding his drums vigorously while Andrei blasts straightforward demonic riffs, reaching an epic and reverberating stage before the song’s climatic and violent conclusion.

In other words, are you prepared to have your mortal soul embraced in the endless darkness crafted by Katharos XIII? If you can’t wait for that to happen, then you should definitely visit Katharos XIII on Facebook to know more about this distinct Romanian band, and purchase your copy of Negativity through the Loud Rage Music’s BandCamp or webshop, as well as at Discogs. As mentioned before, after listening to Negativity, you’ll never be the same again, and all you’ll have to do is to thank this amazing Romanian quartet for such unique experience of dark and mournful sounds.

Best moments of the album: XIII, Negativity and World’s Coffin.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Loud Rage Music

Track listing
1. XIII 9:50
2. Negativity 6:13
3. No One Left to Lead the Way 6:24
4. The Chains are so Beautiful 8:21
5. World’s Coffin 5:58
6. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path 12:03
7. Inside 7:16

Band members
F – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Andrei – guitars
SQ – bass
Sabbat – drums

Album Review – Arkaik Excruciation / Cursed Blood of Doom (2016)

Invoking the impure sense of primitivism through their aggressive and ruthless music, here comes a new Spanish Black and Death Metal quartet with their excellent debut full-length album.

Rating5

front_cover_aeIt doesn’t matter if you go to Catalonia, Andalusia, Galicia, Madrid or any other region in Spain, you’ll always find amazing heavy music all over “la piel del toro”. And if the genre in question is extreme music things get even better, with names such as Sartegos, Balmog, Xérion and Suspiral, as well as bands already reviewed by The Headbanging Moose like Tsar Bomb, Mørknatt and EvnaR, proudly carrying the flag of Spanish Extreme Metal and turning the whole country into an oasis of cutting riffs, blast beats and demonic growls. Thus, that distinguished selection of extreme groups has recently been joined by another hellish band named Arkaik Excruciation, who are releasing their debut full-length album entitled Cursed Blood of Doom, a solid tribute to the foundations of Black, Death and Thrash Metal.

Invoking the impure sense of primitivism through their aggressive and ruthless music since their inception in 2014, when they released their first demo tape named Among the Vortex of Chaos, this La Coruña-based horde of darkness adds the most obscure elements from extreme music to their creations, something you can easily notice and truly enjoy while listening to each track from Cursed Blood of Doom, featuring an obscure artwork by artist Alejandro Tedín. There’s no secret ingredient in the music by Arkaik Excruciation, just well-engendered extreme music by four talented musicians, presented as eight powerful and straightforward tracks embellished by classy and somber names. In other words, how not to get thrilled by a song named “Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat”, right?

Rude and putrid sounds will invade your ears in the bestial Black and Death Metal composition Spiral Scythes of Endless Pain, a darker version of Cannibal Corpse where drummer M. presents his business card through his demonic beats and fills, while lead singer and guitarist M.S. enhances the song’s ferocity with his metallic riffs and cavernous growls. And the song doesn’t actually end, it simply builds a direct link to the brutish Night of Sodom, where the band’s fast and furious carnage goes on with M.S. getting even more aggressive on vocals. In addition, the musicality feels more Death than Black Metal at times, showcasing the bands versatility when switching between extreme styles.

bandStills of Fire and Poison is an eerie interlude comprised of noises that feel they’re coming from the pits of hell, opening the gates for the infernal Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat, a pulverizing lesson in dementia and heaviness in Extreme Metal and definitely one of the top moments of such obscure album, with highlights to the sick drumming by M. In addition to that, its guitars also keep spreading a constant and deranged sensation of hatred until its funereal ending, paving the way to Anesthesic Ritual of Silence and its initial wicked noises, replaced by the hellish guitars by M.S. and K. Moreover, M. provides some spot-on Doom Metal-inspired beats to this semi-instrumental track, while M.S. just keeps gnarling a little in the background in a dark and satanic way.

Suddenly, all hell breaks loose in the most demented of all tracks, Into the Fields of the Sun-Blood, a kick-ass hybrid of Black Metal with the extreme pugnacity of old school Death Metal where the screams by M.S. are effectively complemented by all other instruments and their nonstop savagery, creating a damned ambience that will devour your soul. The creepy and short Clockwork Devotional Saw works as a bridge to the last song of the album, the demented Sadistic Scourge, where elements from Black, Thrash and Death Metal are united in a high-octane demolishing way. K. and F. are unrelenting with their strings, whereas M. fires his groovy and menacing beats, fading into ominous noises and vociferations that go on for over two minutes until the song is finally over.

In case you want to know more about the demonic realm of Arkaik Excruciation, go check their Facebook page, and if you want to purchase a copy of the maleficent Cursed Blood of Doom (which can be enjoyed in its entirety HERE), you’ll find it for sale at their own BandCamp page, at the Caverna Abismal Records’ BandCamp and Discogs page, or at the Duplicate Records’ BandCamp and webstore. And, from now on, always remember that if you’re searching for good Extreme Metal, the region of Galicia (as well as the rest of spain) is your go-to place.

Best moments of the album: Night of Sodom, Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat and Into the Fields of the Sun-Blood.

Worst moments of the album: Anesthesic Ritual of Silence.

Released in 2016 Caverna Abismal Records / Duplicate Records

Track listing
1. Spiral Scythes of Endless Pain 5:18
2. Night of Sodom 4:18
3. Stills of Fire and Poison (Interlude) 2:02
4. Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat 5:50
5. Anesthesic Ritual of Silence 4:15
6. Into the Fields of the Sun-Blood 7:26
7. Clockwork Devotional Saw (Interlude) 0:26
8. Sadistic Scourge 7:15

Band members
M.S. – guitars, vocals
K. – lead guitars
F. – bass
M. – drums