Album: Sanger Fra Auschwitz
Label: Saturnal Records
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Release Date: March 1st, 2019
Katechon are a black/death metal band from Norway that started back in 2011; releasing 2 demos, 1 compilation, 1 EP, and 2 full-lengths in that time. This brings us to their third full-length Sanger Fra Auschwitz, which is my inaugural album for this band that has been around for a while yet somehow flying under my radar. The band, comprised of L:R∴B∴ on bass, K∴G∴ on guitars, L:O∴V∴ on vocals, and Terje M. Kråbøl on drums; these enigmatically named individuals collaborate on a new album in an already dense landscape of incredible music.
L:O∴V∴ gives a top-notch performance as a vocalist, with a great black metal howl that is properly harsh and fits with the musical shifts between the death and black ends of the music. His vocal delivery is easily my favorite part of the album by far, as I can’t find anything to complain about. K∴G∴ is next up, on guitars he also oscillates between the death and black metal ends of the spectrum; neither side is very memorable, and save for a few brief moments across the eight tracks, not much else is either. The guitars aren’t bad at all, but they are repetitive and lacking in stand-out riffs; the first song, Fotspor, is a great example of how I felt about the guitars, it keeps building to a crescendo that never arrives.
The low-end of the group starts with the bass by L:R∴B∴, and ends with the drums from Terje M. Kråbøl; this part of the group is similar to the guitars, in that it isn’t bad in any way, but isn’t anything greater than that either. The bass is utilized smartly, filling in the low-end and giving weight to the music; the bass lines snake through, and stay in their lane, throughout the album.
The drumming is also employed well and Terje is clearly a talented individual, but there aren’t any moments to really let that shine through. The band blends all of their parts into a very cohesive whole; the problem is that the whole isn’t that interesting.
Whenever I dislike, or in this case, find myself luke-warm on an album, I often put it on me; maybe this album/band just isn’t meant for me, maybe I just don’t¬ get what they were going for, etc. In this case, I definitely don’t feel like any of this went over my head, and I’m usually a fan of this particular sub-genre blend, but I just didn’t get out of it what I expect from this niche in extreme metal. The intro song, Fotspor, starts and remains slow, and it also stays with the same music throughout the track, ultimately being dull and forgettable. The album does get better after that, with the songs Eloi and Renselsen coming much closer to what I want out of this style; aggression, quick-riffing, and evil vocals. Even when the songs are much more engaging like these two, this album doesn’t rise above simply being good. After the first song, I didn’t find any to be bad enough to skip, but I also didn’t find any to sing praises about.
Sanger Fra Auschwitz is a good release by talented individuals, but it sounds like they are pulling their punches and holding something back. Across the album, there are moments where it seems like something is coming, that the music is finally shifting into a greater version of what they do, but it never happens. Overall I really was underwhelmed by this album, though it was good, it wasn’t as good as it clearly could have been. The field is littered with great black/death bands that have raised the bar to an unbelievably high standard, and this album is playing limbo.
- Mørkets Hjerte
- Tre Hoder
- Davids Skjold
Total Playing Time: 37:32