PATHOS were my biggest surprise in 2002 and something of a small revelation at Sweden Rock this year. I remember clearly buying “Katharsis” blindly at a local CD store which had (and still has) a poor Metal section; I had never heard of the band before, the artwork struck me leading to a purchase with no idea whatsoever about the music they played, an easy target forever that’s me hehe.
“Katharsis” is a very good album combining modern sounds with NEVERMORE melodic heaviness and a small sample of the doom makings of CANDLEMASS. It’s been almost two years since I got it and I’m still overwhelmed, every track is a launched grenade that meets with devastating impact.
Musically, PATHOS are well rehearsed (of course they are, they’re Swedish) but Paul Schöning’s vocal work is simply astonishing and mysteriously fits in with the malicious wall of Death Thrash Metal. This is not your average Swedish Death Thrash Metal experience, the basic criteria’s are there but the atmosphere is surprisingly dark, doomy and experimental; they don’t force themselves into using the usual melodic clichés of happy harmonies and wimpy keyboard textures.
Needless to say they’re trying to find a clear identity, the modern sounds that sneak up in the songs are arranged to enhance and do so without distorting the heavy variations. Another huge difference is that the band uses a strange kind of extreme vocals; it’s not a bestial growl, nor an evil scream, just a low backup vocal that doesn’t sound too happy. The production sound is also a part of the band’s niche, heavy but with certain rawness and shrouded futuristic sounds.
Pace is another variation that is morphs continuously throughout the album, mid paced structures is probably their main thing but there are also fast songs like “Detonation” and the opening title track which recall the madness of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD when sedated. Mid paced bulldozers like “Inner Ego”, “Inject Reject”, “Violated” and “Inhale” are sure to please fans of NEVERMORE’s ”D.H.I.A.D.W.”, even the sound is of same explosive calibre.
“Katharsis” is strong from beginning to end (hell, it even got nominated for a Swedish Grammy) but there are two tracks that deserve your full attention. The first one is called “Revelation” a detail track pushing the atmosphere with death vocals and sickening opera harmonies, guarantees a grin on your face. “Torn” is PATHOS doing a ballad albeit a very dark and experimental one with more death vocals.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of genre you’re into, this album has something for everyone, period. Like I said, it’s been two years since this album came out which means there should be another one around the corner, let the drooling begin!!! (Online September 25, 2004)