Throne of Katarsis
An Eternal Dark Horizon

Standing amid a sea of dreamers, I occasionally encounter one that rises above the floodwaters and proves their worth emphatically. I came across Throne of Katarsis because of Einherjer. Stein Sund left and formed Thundra along with ex-Enslaved drummer Harald Helgeson and Thor Erik “Grimnisse” Helgesen. Grimnisse then formed Throne of Katarsis.

An Eternal Dark Horizon is the debut full-length recording of this Norwegian band. Grim old school black metal the Norwegian way. Vardalv play the drums and Grimnisse take care of the rest of the instruments. One of Odin’s chosen recorded it, Stein Sund of Thundra. Great results. I love the sound quality, near perfect for this style. To quote the band, “We’ll still have a lot of edge in our sound, but with a tight production.” In other words the demo sounded raw because it was the best they could do at the time, and now they can do better. None of this sounds bad on purpose bullshit. This could be the start of something for Stein, maybe by the end of the decade evil souls looking to create orthodox black metal will be saying to each other “Peter who?”

The excellent sound can be attributed to Stein but sound quality means nothing without quality songwriting. Having a real drummer helps immensely, having one that actually knows how to play is an unusual bonus. Most bands of this style suffer from lack of a quality drummer and most bands that go on to make a name for themselves have a quality drummer to thank. The music is detailed, layered, long, wandering songs, ten plus minutes in length. Of the five songs, two are taken from the three song demo Unholy Holocaustwinds, and not just plopped down on cd, or even just remastered. These two songs are rewritten and rerecorded. “Funeral Moonlight” pulls a “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” mellow break, come out the other end a modern misanthrope, with a minimalist somber ending, and it works.

Ancient devil worshipping is the theme. The organ music that starts the demo version is replaced with church choir. “Symbols of Winter” gets winter winds added as bookends to the song and both tracks show better guitar lines than their demo counterparts, more melodic, with a more powerful sound. The few brief clean singing parts, which were a little too buried on the demo, really stand out now. Of the other songs, “Nattaander” stands out with slower moodier sections and raging shrieks and blastbeats alone with a sonic boom of a bass drum.

Themes of the Norwegian forests are a big part of their lyrics, Vardalv says “we have quite a unique nature up here in the north with great mountains and cold winters as well as the mighty forests, but of course, the fact that old mythology is a part of Norway’s ancient history gives us inspiration too.” Grimnisse says Black Metal is a tool that may be used in the same way the ceremonies and Sabbaths where used in medieval times. I agree with him and always have proclaimed that in order for our traditions to live on we have to have the rituals and rites and we need new bands willing to play the old style.

When black metal is ritual music it is part of your soul. Black metal is a lifestyle and pretenders do not understand this. Vardalv and Grimnisse do, and it comes across in the music, letting them join a large handful of torch bearing young bands excelling at the traditional style. Anyone who thinks not another clone band listen to “Symbols of Winter” and then see if you can’t find some room on your shelf between Gorgoroth and Enslaved. Mp3 files are on their website.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
August 23rd, 2007

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