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Tortorum - Katabasis review

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Band: Tortorum
Album: Katabasis
Release date: March 2014

01. Descensus
02. The Great Appetence
03. In Nameless NonBeing
04. Severance And Perseverance
05. As The Light Falls To Slaughter
06. Into The Sixth Coil
07. Open Wide The Gates Of Chaos
08. Attributions To The Dead
09. Beyond The Earth And Air And Sun

Norwegian black metal.

If you're still reading this, that means you're probably interested in Norwegian black metal. And that means you probably wanna know what this album sounds like. Having arrived at both of those conclusions all by myself, I will now demonstrate my masterful ability at beating a dead horse.

Now I could easily lift a description from Wikipedia that goes on to describe the evolution of black metal since the early '90s, but we at Metal Storm are above giving history lessons in a review. Readers are looking for an artful description of the noise coming out of my speakers so they can then illegally download a copy, listen to three songs, and rabidly disagree with my opinion. So, a wonderfully artful description you shall have. Hint: This album sounds a lot like black metal.

Tortorum, likely some kind of reference to "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allen Poe, are far from being a carbon copy of their predecessors, yet they still maintain the spirit of the early Norwegian scene. But that's not all. They also added in hints of Deathspell Omega, because if you want to not sound bad, you try as hard as you can to emulate the band that generally every black metal fan thinks of when they masturbate.

(Also there's definitely a bit of an early Dissection thing going on - more so than the DsO influence to be honest, but DsO aren't as mainstream and thus make me look cooler for mentioning them.)

Katabasis - a fancy word for "descent" for those too lazy to Google it like I had to - is a surprisingly fresh album, all things considered. While a descent into Hell isn't the most unique story to tell, the buzzsaw melodies and ungodly shrieks at least make for somewhat of a legitimate experience. All the spite and malevolence typical of a black metal album is present and not at all subtle, but a notable emphasis is placed on song structure, melody, and atmosphere. Each track flows sensibly from beginning to end, making for a consistent listen all the way through.

Totaling just over 50 minutes with 8 tracks (and a 2-minute piano instrumental intro), you can expect fairly standard-length songs that don't go out of their way to push the limits, although the 10-minute closer is definitely a fun ride. Comparatively it isn't the most epic or groundbreaking closer of all time, but it does shine some light on the band's technical and structural abilities.

Tortorum have taken influence from the more melodic and refined black metal bands as well as those who partake in more sinister practices, and those influences sync together extremely well here. Of course, taking into account that everyone involved in this project is already a part of several other bands on the side, it's really not surprising they sound so comfortable with their instruments. With all that said, there is one glaring issue with this album: the polished production. It's a tad too smooth for these ears, but I would recommend anyone who prefers less abrasive riffs and for drums to be buried too deep in the mix to give this a go. Aesthetic preferences aside, Katabasis is a mature and focused release, one that could find its way on to many black metal "best of" charts before year's end.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 5


Written on 27.02.2014 by Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 117 users
28.02.2014 - 04:50
Tristus Scriptor
Rancid Reviewer
I'm liking your reviews more and more, Troy. You have a sense of self-aware humor that doesn't step all over the information. And this sounds like a release that deserves my ears at least once.
28.02.2014 - 12:43
Lol dat 3rd paragraph.

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