The wolves from Finland's north are back: CATAMENIA. With the precision of a clockwork the sextet from Oulu is churning out album after album, with "Location:COLD" already being the seventh effort and so far there was no disappointment to be detected. But preceding the release of this album, the band around Riku Hopeakoski and Ari Nissilä had some trouble to fight with, above all the throat injury of fronter Olli Mustonen. They drafted in MORS SUBITA croaker Antti "Hape" Haapsamo to stand in as session vocalist and this style, I believe, is the maybe easiest to replace a singer without disrupting the sound of the songs too much, no offence intended, not least due to the fact that producer Kakke Vähäkuopus still is lending his clear vocal talents.
To make it really simple, if you already liked the predecessors "Eskhata", "Chaos Born" and "Winternight Tragedies", chances are that you will love "Location:COLD" just as much, as the Finns continue down the path they have chosen and paved for themselves, as they really have found their personal niche in the Black Metal genre, with well executed keyboards, adding warmth instead of coldness, majestic melodies and also some clear vocals again to shake things up, but all the while not forgetting to keep the heaviness of the guitars and ferocity of drums in their sound as well to guarantee that they will not slip into keyboard-drenched sappiness.
Opener "Tribe Of Eternity" can already make or break this album for you, as it pretty much sums up what CATAMENIA stand for, super catchy and melodic, but delivered on high speed and with gruff vocals, which are accented by some clear-sung choir in the chorus, as said, if you feel any affinity to this style, this song will grab you right off the bat. But the Finns do not stand still, which is proved by "Coldbound", where they embrace a certain AMORPHIS influence in the riff and stomping mid-tempo, even the clear vocals sound like their countrymen, but they still manage to sneak some Black Metal vocals in to mark their territory.
Finnish sung "Tuhat Vuotta" continues the tradition of at least one song in their native tongue and once more combines ferocity and melodies, while the title track brings back some of those rough, clear vocals embedded into a very varied song, while "The Day When The Sun Faded Away" approaches the genre more slow- to mid-paced, with brilliant melodies. And after having covered Norwegian SATYRICON the last time around, CATAMENIA now try on something completely different: "I Wanna Be Somebody" by W.A.S.P. and even though I know that many people hate this version, I still think that it is pulled off well indeed.
So from the typical wolf cover over the catchiness to the strong songwriting, CATAMENIA have found their style and they're sticking to it and that is good!
(Online January 9, 2007)