Kata Sarka
Crucible of Misanthropy EP

The recent wave of crusty, punky, black metal has been both a blessing and a curse. While a lot of great acts have crept up from the mire in the past few years (notably: Martyrdod, Seeds in Barren Fields, Young and in the Way), there has still been a glut of uninspired Darkthrone clones releasing anything they can record, on whatever will put their music on a cheap cassette. I get that appeal. The raw, stripped, viscerality of it all can lead to some genuinely inspired moments, but let’s face it; the majority of this stuff is shit. Kata Sarka fortunately is not part of that crowd.

The same aggression of most of the bands named above is steeped with a little bit of thrash to create Crucible of Misanthropy, Kata Sarka’s most recent EP. The hostile but clear production makes you want to turn this up loud and rage. For a 12 minute release, this CDr contains a notable number of killer moments. The opening riff on “Mired in Spleen” wastes no time in letting you know what you are in for. Headbang away as the cacophonous crushing crunch of thrashy black metal never relents for the duration of the song, and the entire EP for that matter. “Crucible of Misanthropy” begins without warm-up with exceptionally violent, belligerent screaming, thrash-punk aesthetics, and double kick, full speed drum warfare.

The rest of Crucible of Misanthropy stays right in line with the death march descriptions above. My only criticism is that there is an obvious drop in production between songs 2 and 3. It is obvious they are from separate recording sessions, or poorly mastered. “Ghosts of Smoke” and “Perpetual Stupidity Machine” are far from bad sounding, and great tracks, but their sudden shift in sound throws you right out of the moment. A minor critique for an otherwise great release.

Being that this was released on Auris Apothecary, I’d be irresponsible not to include some sort of comment on the packaging of this album. Auris Apothecary is a label known for releasing a wide spectrum of music; from drone to noise to black metal to doom, and is notable for their unconventional and exceptional style. This is no exception. The band logo is screen printed onto a heavy earth-tone ceramic tile to which the artwork is affixed. A copper wax seal entombs the CDr until you cut it. The extra touches to this really make it a ritual to open and interact with. When you consider the entire thing is $9 postage-paid in the US, you are getting real bang for your buck.

Kata Sarka has crafted a remarkably destructive release here. If you are a fan of animalistic gutter black-thrash, this is absolutely for you. It’s hard to sum up 12 minutes of music since it is already so succinct, but its brevity makes it endlessly re-listenable, which is a hallmark of any great release.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
September 25th, 2013

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