Those of you that have older children may have moments where the art of the child reaches the point where it exceeds your own, in my case that isn't too difficult but I have to confess a tear in the eye when my kids have bested my efforts. I'd like to think that maybe there's a couple of Norwegian rapscallions who feel a little misty when listening to “Helvete – Det Iskalde Morket.”
THRONE OF KATARSIS received a fair amount of lazy sniping for the last album, despite it being entertaining enough. I think the gainsayers will have to be far more constructive if they want to stick the boot in with this one. Changes are marked, though there is a fair degree of subtlety as well, perhaps the main improvement is the thickening of sound, this has greater mass but doesn't lose that brittleness. Riding the gale from the beginning, the guitars cut like flint knifes, serrated progress that leaves sharp, pointed flakes behind, when at a pace the riffs needle along, puncturing skin but the heritage also dictates slower, sinuous Doom inspired motifs conspiring in dark corners and these sections abound amongst the fury.
Far from being a tired old nag, this album bears itself like a horse of the Apocalypse, it may be skeletal and diseased but the fell energies that give it movement present it with ample opportunity to charge, and charge THRONE OF KATARSIS most certainly do. A great deal of the stampede is borne by the drums which pummel along atop an abuse of muffled toms, when they gallop the blood rises but when they blast it starts to ooze through the pores of your skin. I happen to love this seemingly chaotic form of drumming where clarity has been donned with concrete boots and lobbed into the river, that said, there are moments where clatter is more prominent and here the drums have a sharpness to them, though you'd hardly describe them as clear as a bell.
“Helvete – Det Iskalde Morket” incorporates cunning cameos of other genres, these are mere suggestions at times such as the almost NWOBHM rip-tide running beneath the beginning of “Lysets Endeligt.” Elsewhere the phantoms of keyboards sweep in briefly and infrequently, it's enough to add essence to these songs without changing the overall ramshackle character, which despite its creaking rope quality, still holds strong and convinces. Even when the band resort to dirge, it has an edge, the blade is keened by that crawling Doom and so the more languorous sections whisper sinister tones to tempt the ear from turning away. Much as they can't help but drop slower sections into their more rapid fare, the band equally can't allow the stumble of “The Darkest Path” to continue to the end and so a rush from the light finishes the track.
This album drips with drama and it's fair to say that where as THRONE OF KATARSIS may have been one of the better Am Drams before, they are now positively West End. It bleeds darkness and flows with a life that should never been unearthed, you don't need to rely on the wretched shriek of tortured vocals to illustrate that Hell is missing some demons.
“Helvete – Det Iskalde Morket” successfully reinvigorates the corpse, there's a burning light at the back of those dead eyes. It's probably the most effective way for THRONE OF KATARSIS to tell one or two folk to get fucked.
(Online April 21, 2009)