Katavasia - Magnus Venator review
|Release date:||September 2020|
01. Daughters Of Darkness
02. The Tyrant
03. Blood Be My Crown
04. Chthonic Oracle
05. Saturnalia Magnus Cult
06. Triumphant Fate
07. Sinistral Covenant
08. Hordes Of Oblivion
09. Babylon (Sammu-Rawat)
Katavasia is a supergroup whose younger members use their instruments to revive the style of music that their eldest member helped shape and evolve back in the '90s.
Led by Stefan Necroabyssious of Varathron fame and featuring musicians from two of the most forward-thinking Greek metal bands of the last decade - Aenaon and Hail Spirit Noir - Katavasia is more of a side project paying homage to early Rotting Christ and Varathron. There is no innovation here originating from the younger and more progressive spirits; consequently, what we essentially get is the sound of vintage Hellenic black metal, in which the guitars follow more traditional heavy metal forms, the melodies are warmer and based on feeling rather than on the coldness of the northern black metal bands, the synths are more occult and slightly dungeon-esque, and the music evokes an atmosphere appropriate for a descent* to Hades, where the howls and growls of Necroabyssious rattle the rusty gates of the Underworld and make the three-headed Cerberus curl up in the corner like a scared puppy.
Compared to Katavasia's debut, Magnus Venator (The Great Hunter in Latin) is more memorable, it has better flow and it is full of gripping melodic hooks. Shifting from thrashing to folksy and from epic to rocking, the album retains its mischievously appealing blackened persona through and through, even without presenting much novelty. The only curveball - and my personal pick from this album - is "Sinistral Covenant", a song that sounds as if Kraftwerk had decided to write a meloblack song on which the synths dictate the rhythm and the groove that the guitars are riffing on.
The sole reason why I am not rating this album even higher is the first paragraph of this review. While the music is fairly addictive, there is not a lot here that you won't find in Non Serviam or Walpurgisnacht. Katavasia are clearly a project based on nostalgia and they don't pretend to be something else, but this also means that what they have on offer cannot possibly reach the magnetism of the original. This doesn't mean that Magnus Venator has no reason to exist of course, quite the opposite; after all, it is one of the best melody-focussed black metal releases of this year.
"I hear the whispers in the dark
Time, the daughters of darkness
Dressed in black!"
*Katavasia is a type of hymn, chanted in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches that follow the Byzantine Rite. Its name is derived from the Greek word "καταβασία", which means "descent", so called because the cantors used to "descend" from their stalls and unite in the middle of the church to sing these particular hymns.
||Written on 01.10.2020 by|
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