For a second time in recent months I have to compare a band’s album to the already mighty(in my mind at least) WOODS OF YPRES. “Portrait Of Wind And Sorrow”, the first full length album from Spanish Metallers KATHAARSYS, is an extravagance in the brimming Black and Death Metal fusion WOY are such masters of. While perhaps not quite as intricate as the afore mentioned Canadian band, these Iberian lads lay out there brand of Metal in splendid fashion on “Portrait Of Wind And Sorrow”.
While there is no question of the convergence of both genres executed on this album, like WOY and FRAGMENTS OF SENTIENCE, KATHAARSYS have a foot much firmer placed in the Black Metal camp. The chief measure of “Portrait Of Wind And Sorrow” is a blistering tremolo Black Metal rhythms and high end vocals. Like many bands in this field of Metal, KATHAARSYS start of with a brief atmospheric key and guitar intro on “Perennial Forest O Winter“, which is then shot to hell in an eruption of rapid notes and mashing percussion. After some sway of tempos, the song then leads to an interlude of clean vocals and distortion free guitar work, a common aesthetic throughout the album. This is imparted even more so in the second cut, “Gnostic Seasons” which contains both some sublimely melodic slices of melancholy buttressed with a torrent of furious riffing which work momentously with each other. While this flow of a song may not be inventive to the genre, it is still an absorbing listen and I find it infectious. While there is a time and place for those sedate bands like AGALLOCH, I still prefer to get the mix of such music alongside a bombardment of wrathful Metal if I can. KATHAARSYS provide this a plenty.
The title track is a stunning tempest and calmness that should be playing on every fucking iPod on the planet right now, it is that terrific. The blasting elements can be quite staggering in their ferocity, surpassing many contemporary Black Metal acts who have tempered their rage of late. Unlike NECROPHOBIC (one of my all time favs) who could be classified as Black/Death but have a denser sway in Death Metal, KATHAARSYS as I said, seem far more comfortable in the swirl of Black Metal. But that doesn’t mean they can’t churn out some thicker riffs and growling along the way. No matter the genre, “Portrait Of Wind And Sorrow” is simply a fine, fine piece of work. With five of the six songs clocking in over 10 minutes, the album has an epic feel to it, though that isn’t necessarily the gist of the tracks or the album. “Portrait Of Wind And Sorrow” is just an exploration of a burgeoning style of Metal that is executed quite masterfully by a promising band. If it was a 2006 release, it would certainly be considered among the top albums of the year so far. (Online October 20, 2006)