Catacumba - Kratos - (7.5/10)
Published on November 27, 2015
South America certainly has its own breed of black metal. While the sound has spilled over to a wider audience in recent years, a band plying that classic, sweltering primitive style can almost always be placed somewhere within that continent. The influence of Sarcófago and Vulcano runs rampant throughout the underground black metal scene, and that influence shines ever so brightly in the Brazilian scene. Honestly, there are so many bands treading the waters of amalgamous black metal that’s it increasingly difficult to find bands from the area that are doing more than just going through the motions.
Catacumba is one such Brazilian black metal band with a lot of that primeval and filth-ridden styling. The band’s sound is brash and primitive, yet just under the foul exterior lurks subtle melodies via tempestuous trem riffing. The band’s debut full length album, Kratos, was originally released in 2010 through the Mexican label Onslaught Records. Fallen-Angels Productions reissued in the album in 2014, adding a live version of “The Seed of Hate” as a bonus track.
Thrashy, swaggering power chord progressions surge forth while double bass runs fill the background, before ramming headfirst into first cold and blustery trem riffing with blasts. Catacumba blends humid South American black metal with the frosty climes of the second wave. In doing so, the band pays tribute to both scenes while not sounding overly distant from either style. The guitar sound is quite stripped down and, when coupled with the rangy sound of the percussion, stunts the trem riffing, despite showing some promising patterns. The furious, throat scraping growls, quite similar Gravewürm’s Fuenral Grave at times, are aggressively frenetic, bringing a primitive snarl wherever they go. Where Catacumba is strongest is during the chunky, primal riffing that leans more towards their South American roots, like the chorus of “Darkened Reverence”.
Blending primal South American aggression with the frostbitten nature of the Scandinavian scene, Catacumba blazes through nearly forty minutes of aggressive and primitive black metal. Kratos is a fine debut full length from this Brazilian horde, but unfortunately, half a decade has passed and the band has yet to issue a follow up. The band sounds their best when the pulsing rhythms and filth-ridden, venomous riffing breaks into a swaggering soiree, as evidenced during tracks like “Hungry Are the Impure Souls”. Hopefully these guys gather some steam and get moving once again because it’s hard not to like where they’re going here.