Katalepsy - Gravenous Hour - (8.5/10)
Published on June 11, 2016
In 2013, elite Moscow brutalizers Katalepsy returned to the fold with their highly anticipated debut LP Autopsychosis, a chest-caving cyborg of modernized savagery that managed to eclipse the might of their “Musick Brings Injuries” and “Triumph of Evilution” EPs by way of an augmented production and a motherboard of ferocious, hyperkinetic riffs. With stellar performances across the board, Katalepsy delivered one of the more cohesive brutal death albums in recent memory, an achievement that made the release of Gravenous Hour all the more exciting, especially so given the band’s retention of all players.
Like many other acts on the current BDM circuit, Katalepsy utilize a huge production, fiery musicianship, and a steady current of grooves to undergird their sound. However, where they distance themselves from said camp is via Igor Filimontsev’s ursine roars, a seemingly boundless well of intensity, and a collection of madcap riffs that add more to the tech-death fray than your requisite steel-blue stream of pin-balling notes. Their brand of burly-meets-surgical death metal is nothing revelatory, but it’s likewise nothing to scoff at; Katalepsy get it, and like other leading skull-cleavers—Malignancy, Abysmal Torment, Saprogenic, Disentomb, etc.—the quintet manufacture a decisively brutal take on modern death, one smothered in thundering rhythms, oddball melodies, and more than a few world-shaking riffs.
Aside from the record’s relatively tame (yet still enjoyable) instrumental bookends, Gravenous Hour is a relentless march through death metal territory, a constantly exploding minefield of madcap brutality led by Igor’s drill sergeant roars blaring down from a ceiling of quivering blood-red skies. “Blindead Sultan,” an apt opener and one of several album highlights, exemplifies the album’s staple grooves and technicality before bursting open with one mammoth beatdown starting around the 4:35 mark; incidentally, the album could have used a few more of said slams (similar to the one found at 3:30 on “To the Lords of Nihil”), but that’s not to say that Gravenous Hour doesn’t deliver in spades a host of fist-clenching, teeth-grinding episodes bent around the octopod whims of drum-hero Evgeny Novikov, and the acrobatic string-assault of guitarists Dmitry and Anton Garasiev and bassist Anatoly Shishilov.
Sure, it’s not as mucked up and gnarled as their earlier slam-buffets, but Gravenous Hour exists at the apogee of modern brutal death with its showcase of indefatigable groove, pace, and creativity. Katalepsy have delivered a pummeling new record that maintains Russia’s stranglehold on over-the-top extremity.