The Finns are back! Finally the wait is over… If you've read my reviews for "Eternal Winter's Prophecy" and "Eskhata", then you know that together with DIMMU BORGIR the sextet CATAMENIA is my absolute favourite in the Black Metal genre. Surely there will be plenty of people saying that CATAMENIA are not Black Metal as they use keyboards and are far too melodic, but you know what? I don't care what you say, they just are!
While not being the most original band on the planet, there are certain trademarks that have marked the CATAMENIA sound ever since their beginning and even more so since the release of "Eternal Winter's Prophecy". Big melodies, a fair share of double bass use, very varied compositions, well used keyboards and damn good arrangements. Basically all the things that you could hope for in a Melodic Black album, except for an orchestra maybe, but the Finns don't need one anyway.
But they present me with one problem, a quite problem even, to pick out certain songs, because once again they manage to combine heaviness with epic melodies, the fierce croak of Mika Tönning with some additional guest vocals by Essi (female) and Kakke Vähäkuopus (male) and so much more. If you just take the opener "Kuolon Tanssi", a great amalgamation of the ferocity of Black Metal and an epic and melodic atmosphere, with something that is surely a trade mark of CATAMENIA by now: Dynamics.
By cleverly shifting speed and intensity the band manages to gain momentum right at the start and then to take the listener with them, keeping the attention to the max, because before a certain passage could get too long or repetitive, they shift, for example, from blast beats to double bass or furious instrumentation to an epic part with much melody and atmosphere and back again, creating a very smooth flow and a great set of dynamics that just take you with them and mark them from the myriads of genre colleagues.
Besides the already mentioned "Kuolon Tanssi" we are treated with black gemstones like "Lost In Bitterness" with very well used male vocals as counterpart to Mika's nasty croak or the excellent closing duo of "One With Sorrow" and "Hollow Out-ChaosBorn", the former straight, double bass driven, with great guitar melodies and drive, the latter with a brilliant guitar lead/riff and tons of power to boot, excellent closer!
With "Eskhata" I had said that it was the maybe best Melodic Black album since DIMMU BORGIR's "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant". With "Chaos Born" I will not go as far, because something seems to be different than with "Eskhata", maybe just my mood, but there can be no doubt that if you like Melodic Black, you will HAVE to have CATAMENIA's fifth effort! (Online July 7, 2003)