Reviewed: November 2021
Released: 2021, Avantgarde Music
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Olio Tähtien Takana, Finnish for ‘A Creature Beyond the Stars’ is the symphonic black metal brainchild of multi-instrumentalist v-KhaoZ. He is a member of bands such as Vargrav and Druadan Forest. After a collaboration with the vocalist Hellwind Inferion (Desolate Shrine, Sargeist), album number three Spectral Katharsis was born.
After wordless intro track ’Enter The Maw Of Souls,’ listeners will really feel like they are travelling ‘Towards The Dying Moon’. This is thanks to the dazzling keyboards and various vocal styles employed by Hellwind Inferion. Meanwhile, the music effortlessly communicates both insane frenzy and an intergalactic fantastical journey.
With its ambient beginning, ’Excrucior’ demonstrates that speed isn’t always needed to create sinister space-age black metal. The instruments build and build, until they gradually reintroduce the cosmos-like sound. v-KhaoZ’s musical performance adds multiple layers of mysticism to the already chilling vocals.
Most of the songs here reflect their titles, and ‘A Sorcery Written In Stars’ is no exception. The song has a great balance of traditional black metal and keyboard/synth elements, which are most dazzling when delivered simultaneously. ’Prophecies Of Pandemonium’ incorporates many opposing features, like its predecessor. It does veer into the symphonic territory a lot more prominently, however.
As Spectral Katharsis reaches its halfway point, ‘Veri Kirotussa Yossa’ is the only track sung in Finnish, and feels the most (super)natural because of this. Those that do not understand the language will experience another form of alienation while listening to this chapter in particular.
‘The Servant’s Heart’ returns listeners to an English-speaking realm, but that is no guarantee for safety. An animalistic howl, deranged layered vocals and chainsaw-like riffs accompany spectral keys, ensuring the threat of danger does not leave. Some interesting instrumental breaks feature in ‘Journey Through The Most High’, countering the melodic parts to great effect.
‘The Labyrinth Of Sleepless Dead’ arrives with the sound of rolling drum beats, followed by an evil snarl. The drumming is very pronounced here on track nine, providing a commanding backbone.
The level of unearthly insidiousness is increased in title song ’Spectral Katharsis’ immediately, and it won’t be long before listeners realise why it shares its name with the album. Growls of the phrase “Join us!” are very compelling, not ignoring the enchanting keys that twinkle intermittently.
‘Ego Aeternum’ switches up the vocal style, and the lively number is one of the only moments on the album that features a consistent way of delivering lyrics.
Clocking in at just under four minutes, ‘Into The Everlasting Shadow’ provides the calm after the storm with its tranquil aural landscape. Even in its calmness, it does feel like there is something lurking and waiting to pull its next victim into a black hole…
There are no standout songs on this album, as they all employ stellar techniques, musically and vocally. New listeners may be a little overwhelmed if they have not heard a record like this before, but that’s part of Spectral Katharsis’ cosmic charm. Olio Tähtien Takana will appeal to fans of Limbonic Art and Odium.
Spectral Katharsis is out now, released through Avantgarde Music.