I first got to know CATAMENIA through their 2003 release “Chaosborn”, quite the different album from the one I have here but a good release nonetheless. This “Morning Crimson”, one of their first releases, is just as their modern work highly melodic Black Metal yet in a very different way.
Guitar riffs are mainly responsible for this, there is some great interplay between the guitar duo, creating great melodies while still being pretty Black Metal in their sound (purists and traditionalists stay away though!) Mika Tönning has a great voice, which, though it may sound weird sounds very Finnish in style to me, not accent-wise, just the style. It has a good tiny echo behind it giving the music a good atmosphere. In the Keyboard department they are also different from their modern sounds, no obvious synths, but a lot of dreamy (piano) melodies played behind the guitars.
Most of the songs contain a lot of double bass drumming, not played on hyperspeed but just solid drumming; together with the other elements you get an excellent flow throughout the album, maybe even a little epic touch… Like on other albums that sound epic that typical “superior mood” is present all the way.
Coming back to the guitar play; I’d like to compare it a bit with CIRITH GORGOR’s guitar play, while both bands are radically different from one another, both of them manage to create very melodic Black Metal through creative riffing. The latter definitely has more bite to it though. It would also be different to hear the band play this sort of riffs again on modern albums if you compare the production values, on their “Chaosborn” album the production is crystal clear, here they have a much flatter sound, more underground sounding, while still being far away from the purist sound of course.
A very recommendable album for fans of Melo Black, as the songs here are mostly guitar driven and supported my keys it gives a nice break from bands like DIMMU who seem to do it the opposite way. Traditional Black Metal fans will still absolutely despise this band and should keep a big distance from it. (Online February 2, 2006)