Today I am reviewing a band which was forged from the depths of the central coast in New South Wales, Australia. The band have been busy captivating audiences around Australia and I thought I might shine some extra light on a band worthy of your attention. Their drummer, Andrew, was a part of one of the first bands I ever interviewed/reviewed for Mystic Metal, Nevetherym. They sadly came to an end, though I think this has been for the better when you hear what Andrew is a part of now. Katabasis is defined as 'a descent' so let us now descend into their realm and indulge in their debut self titled album.
Avernus - It is a slow fade in of the guitar, though it is brief as we are met by an explosion of sound. A death roar accompanies the distorted symphony; undecipherable yet smooth sounding. There is a slight groove in the rhythms which assist your submersion into their realm. This is a very long track at 13:12 so prepare to indulge. The music has a dark and deathly atmosphere, yet there is a positive aspect to it all which seems light and hopeful. It is a beautiful concoction of emotion and thought. The sound engineering is excellent as you can hear every aspect of every instrument and yet it is all blended very well together. The music is heavy though it is not something to thrash out to. The style should be considered as Anathema sounding. The track ends with the flow of water and an acoustic guitar melody. It is a great introduction to the band and the album.
"Nearer, No words are the same, No hypocrisy, You will be forgotten..."
Path Of Ruin - Straight into this next track with thundering drums, boisterous guitars and a sinister death roar. This is also a long track but nowhere near as long with a duration of 07:41. In fact, this is the shortest track on the album. It is much more upbeat and so it should get you moving and approving with some windmill action. The music is fairly laid back in essence even though it has a heavy aspect to it all. It has the atmospheric energy of a band like Sólstafir. It is very easy to lose yourself in the music. The end of the track has the sounds of a record player stuck on the end of an LP and 'looping'. It is overall, another welcome track.
"Never to be, Too many lies, Never to die, Live in the house, Of the dead..."
Hierophant - This next track starts out with clean, male vocals and somewhat of an alternative rock feel. The tempo is of a slower rock beat with a spacey atmosphere to it. The duration is fairly lengthy at 09:28. This song certainly utilises Anathema inspiration; it is very laid back and soothing. There is a built up moment toward the end where the death vocals make an entrance, though they are used quite constructively as atmospheric use only. The good thing about this music is it allows your mind to wander and imagine and let your body relax.
"I'm not here now, I'm not entering, Nothing could be saved, Not forget how we were back then..."
Aphelion - A dark and mysterious atmosphere introduces this song. Clean, male vocals begin their tale with an element of bewilderment. Perhaps amazed at what they have endured and to what now lies before them. The music remains at a slow tempo although it creates a suspense driven atmosphere. It is soothing, yet at the same time it keeps you on edge as you wait for something intense to happen. This is the second longest track on the album with a duration of 10:50. It is not until 06:09 when the signs of intensity truly arise. It has an astounding resemblance to Anathema's 'A Natural Disaster' at this point. The music takes a turn and slows yet again until its true demise. From 09:40 til 10:50 it is simply ambient sounds - a nice way to end an atmospheric album.
"Time has been, All I've seen, If you told me, I wouldn't believe it..."
In essence, this is a fine example of Katabasis and the potential they possess. The music is atmospheric at its very core with an element of heavy and a touch of deathly ambience. You can lose yourself in a temperate headbang, but do not expect to thrash about. For those who are into Anathema and Sólstafir and similar acts, I suggest you take a moment to indulge in Katabasis, as you will not be disappointed. Check them out on the links below and support some Aussie talent.
Buy Katabasis from CD Baby
Review by Déa di Morté © 13 July 2012
All pictures and lyrical extracts courtesy of Katabasis