Released: 2009, Candlelight Records
Continuing the long tradition of Norse black metal, Norway’s Throne of Katarsis have been kicking around since 2003. Unfortunately for them, from what I’ve read their debut album, 2007’s AN ETERNAL DARK HORIZON, was not particularly well liked. Comments like “generic”, and “dull” were kicked around quite a bit. Having released a live DVD in the meantime the band, comprised of Thor Helgesen and Vardalv are back with the second effort, HELVETE – DET ISKALDE MORKET.
Right from the start, it’s clear that these guys mean business, as “The Winds of Blasphemy” is pure black metal fury. With appropriately lo-fi production values, the song effortlessly captures the evil spirit of black metal. Unfortunately it’s also overly long and clearly derivative of early Darkthrone. Sure, orthodox black metal tends to follow a certain set path, but this is almost over the top with its cribbing of A BLAZE IN THE NORTHERN SKY.
Hopefully showing signs that they are not content to merely ape their idols, the band branches out a bit more on the following (very) lengthy tracks. The almost-18 minute title track in particular allows the band to stretch their wings with multiple shifts in tempo and mood. Still, it becomes an exercise in frustration as the band just does not seem able to string successive interesting riffs together. Too often I found myself not paying attention to the album and suddenly realized that ten minutes had passed and I had no idea what I’d just heard. Compared to say, Krohm’s THE HAUNTING PRESENCE album where, despite the length of the songs my attention never wavers, and this album comes up lacking.
Throne of Katarsis are trying, but I’m afraid that generic and dull are apt descriptors for this album. This will appeal to the most fanatical black metal fans, but overall is just not worth a recommendation.