Wisconsin’s Emblazoned released their debut album, in 2014, Eucharistiae Sacramentum and it was outstanding.  Even topping their 2013 ep, The Living Magisterium.  They return with their second full-length, CatharsisEmblazoned have always had a black metal edge to the death metal sound and the black metal moments definitely are taking center stage with Catharsis.  So it’s no surprise the production is a little stripped down and has a more raw feeling, than past releases.  But make no mistake the production is still good.  Very organic and natural-thank god!  “Resilience” comes out the starting gates with some nice blasting and Jeff Plewa is spewing forth in a higher register and returns to his deep, angry growly vocals-these moments are quite strong and the 3.25 section has a bit of an epic quality to it with some killer cymbal bashing from Alex “The Pulverizer” as he pulverizes the crap out of the drums.

The opening of “Cancer” has some outstanding guitar melodies from Kevin Forsythe and AJ’s bass guitar tone, mixed louder, during the opening and other passages in the song, work extremely well and add a nice bottom layer to the rhythm section.  The groove goes into a blast with some well-placed deep vocals and then the awesome guitar melodies pummel you with emotion, atmosphere and excellent double bass over the slower moment is really, really well written.  “Septic” is another strong track with an excellent mixture of blackened death metal with a true Holy Shit moment at the 2.54 mark.  An isolated moment, then drum roll and then right into a monstrous blast.  Right around the corner is “At My Depths” and I already told Kevin this is the proverbial tune.  Love the opening guitar work-adds to an ambience, which, once the other instruments come in, you have a feeling of dread and it’s a slow burn before, you guessed it, another Holy Shit moment. Nice higher pitched growl, right before the ferocious blast.  So lethal and punishing you may start swinging for the fences and connecting, as well.  Hell once that blast comes back like a minute later, you may even be so inclined to start taking Aaron Rodgers and picking him up and cracking that collar bone again and again and again.

“At My Depths” is one of the best songs Kevin and the rest of Emblazoned has written and this is the best track on Catharsis.  Emblazoned hits us with another instrumental, like they did on their prior record.  I am just not a fan of extreme metal instrumentals.  The instrumentals from the 80’s from Maiden, King Diamond, Metallica and the earlier Sabbath jam moments are what does it for me, when it comes to instrumentals, but when it comes to extreme metal, my mind goes to sleep.  “The Convalescence” at over 8 minutes, is actually very well done and I was like maybe I’m turning a corner.  Has all the Emblazoned killer moments, but with such a long track, I feel the vocals would have added an epic quality, where there could have been some killer vocal patterns across this track. There are some classic metal moments on this instrumental, which I appreciated. The title track ends the record in a really strong fashion.  Monstrous blasts, mid-paced heaviness and excellent guitar work.

The cd is a professionally manufactured cd-r and I know it’s a money saver.  However, when it comes to durability they will not last as long as a true silver lined back cd.  Cd-r’s are imprinted with a dye which are prone to more fingerprints, scratches and over time a cd-r music quality will dip.  Again, when it comes to $$, cd-r’s are getting printed more frequently by bands.  The booklet is nicely thrown together with lyrics and I was pretty humbled to be on the thanks list-thank you Mr. Forsythe-it really made my day, after a tough work day.  So there you have it folks.  Emblazoned have released a great album, in Catharsis.  They have expanded upon their sound and have opened the door to other elements I can see them adding on the next release.  The musicianship has advanced and the guitar melodies truly shine on this sucker.  Memorable, emotive, atmospheric-and never ever forgetting the razor brutality.  So go at once to their bandcamp.  Order their releases, some shirts, like their FB page and go see them live, if they play in your neck of the woods.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
January 30th, 2018


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