Black metallers from Norway know as Throne of Katarsis is somewhat unknown by most people. If you look for them on the web you are likely to come across their website which is labelled “Unholy Black Metal”, which in my opinion is an oxymoron in the first place and secondly, just simply trying too hard. Moving on, their 3rd and latest album, titled “Ved Graven,” which translates to “The Tomb”. One can already sense that there weren’t any compromises made in producing this record. It is clear from the album art, unreadable logo and extreme expressionism that we are in for a “frostbitten ride through the abyss”.
In terms of tempo and atmosphere, it is what you have come to expect from a black metal band, so no surprises there. The production is well, raw and pretty much a mixture of various instruments, I think? I am merely kidding. The album starts off with a track titled ‘Profetens Siste Vandring’. It starts off with some feedback, as is a custom now a days, and what sounds like a bit of a sound check before you hear them calling from afar, as the guitars roar into action at a rather relentless pace, whilst hellhammers are being struck with hellish fury. The vocals are harsh, high-pitched and as unforgiving as expected. There’s not too much variation in tempo, although it does have some stellar breakdowns which reminds you about the dreariness of the occasion. It’s fast, it’s furious and uncompromising, exactly what you’d expect from a Norwegian Black Metal band. Rather pragmatic approach to black metal.
One track that does capture the imagination is titled ‘Av Dypets Kulde,’ which is a vast contrast to the rest of the tracks as it slows down into a rather doomy tempo, which is refreshing in the sense of variety. It has very slow and very dead in the water sound to it, giving an almost mourning atmosphere. It’s a good change of pace to the already blistering pace of the rest of the album. I wouldn’t say it has enough tracks like these, so one could say we have a well-balanced album, but then again that isn’t quite “True Norwegian Black Metal,” then is it? So, the track is 9 minutes of pure agony, hatred and darkness.
The rest of the album is pretty much very consistence, the last track however is very dramatic and similar to ‘Av Dypets Kulde’ in terms of tempo in parts. Being the last track on the album, it doesn’t just act as an outro track to the album, but reasserts the brutality and sheer relentlessness back into the atmosphere of the album. The last track, titled ‘The Ultimate Shrine,’ in my opinion is brilliant in terms of the beat and tempo, the intro is classic old school black metal and has enough hatred to keep the war machine going. There are certain sections where it comes to a grinding halt before it builds again. Lets have no misconceptions, this is a ruthless track, but it just does a bit more in terms of atmosphere than any of the other tracks. This therefore is my pick from the album and makes it all worth it.
In terms of the album as a whole, like I said, it is a very pragmatic approach to black metal and it is an absolute classic in terms of sound and the song structure, however, Throne of Katarsis don’t really bring anything new to the table. From the word go, you can sense, it’s all been done before, which to black metal fans will be an absolute treat and will be exactly what they paid for. To me personally, I feel that it is a bit overdone and that there is nothing different or special to this record at all, which does give it a label as a bit banal and unoriginal but before I get carried away, I tend to remember that this is black metal. So, from a black metal point of view it is absolutely superb. From a creativity and boundary pushing point of view, it’s dead in the water and it is just the same old black metal record you already own. I would recommend Throne of Katarsis to metalheads who love Enthroned, Darkthrone, Tsjuder, Horna, Behexen, Korgonthurus and Beastcraft.