Thursday, September 22, 2011

Katharsis - Kruzifixxion (2003)

Kruzifixxion is the second full-length album from the German Black Metal band Katharsis. Released in November 2003, though Norma Evangelium Diaboli. In the years since their debut L.P., 666, not much changed with this band. The sound is still very much in line with their previous material and even the flaws that existed back then are still present.

It begins with "The Last Wound", which takes a couple minutes to really get going. The intro section is rather boring and useless, but once things get moving the atmosphere takes on a dark and almost melancholic feel. The band follows the same formula as before, keeping within the guidelines set forth by the early Darkthrone material. It consists of fast tremolo-picked guitar melodies and intense drumming that maintains a hectic feeling, for the most part. Unfortunately, the best melody of the whole song comes near the end, which means that there is little time to fully appreciate the misery that it conveys. Drakh's vocals add a sense of desperation to the final moments and the song manages to end strongly. This track could have been a little more concise, but it is decent enough to start things out.

"Painlike Paradise" gets right to the point, though it does not do very well to imbue the listener with any kind of feeling, evil or otherwise. The pace changes a little, but this does not have much of an effect on anything. A really nice tremolo riff emerges in the latter half of the song, bereft of drums or vocals, somewhat salvaging things. It may not even be that spectacular, but it sounds much nicer without the drums stomping all over it. Not a bad song, but it is mostly filler.

This is followed by "The Chosen One", which features a bit of a melancholic feeling. As with the rest of the album, the drums are too high in the mix and take away some of the attention from the sombre guitar riffs. However, it is something that one is able to get used to with time, to an extent. The song is kind of repetitive, but this works within the context of the album and it suits the dreary atmosphere. The vocals take on more of a shrieking sound, as the track moves along, adding to the aura of torment. The tension builds in the later part of the song, but the climax never really comes. It just sort of deflates, without reaching the expected conclusion, with the melodies unable to live up to their potential.

"Blood Staineth the Temple Stones" starts with a horror intro, though the song does little to build upon this. One gets the impression that they attempted to follow through with this, but the riffs are just a little too generic to do much more than fill time. On its own, the song is not bad, but it does not hold up well under close scrutiny. It, more or less, seems like an excuse to throw together a handful of Hellhammer and Darkthrone-inspired riffs, without really doing much with them. The tormented vocals do not really do much for this type of atmosphere, either, coming off as a little overdone for a song like this. Clocking it at over eleven minutes, this one fails to hold the listener's attention and thus does not warrant such a length. The final moments hint at a melody that sounds kind of familiar, but it ends before I can quite put my finger on it. Either way, the last twenty seconds beat out the rest of the song.

The next song is "Luziferion", which is much shorted but no less uninspiring. It is almost reminiscent of "Inn I De Dype Skogers Favn", from Under A Funeral Moon, in the sense that it offers almost no variation and the main riff is completely devoid of any kind of feeling, whatsoever. In other words, this is more filler.

The album reaches its merciful conclusion with "Infernal Solar Vortexx (A Vision in Three Parts)". This is another lengthy track, approaching the ten-minute mark. It is filled with riffs that are highly derivative of other bands, almost to the point of plagiarism. Speaking of which, the mid-paced section is completely lifted from another song, note-for-note, though the source eludes me at the moment. Not only is this piece not interesting enough to justify going for so long, but it consists of stolen ideas as well.

While Kruzifixxion contains nearly 45 minutes of raw Black Metal, it comes off as dull and generic, and making it through the entire album is actually quite tedious. There are only two decent songs on here, and even those are unable to live up to their potential. The rest is simply filler, which is unacceptable. One would think that the band was capable of much more than this. Rather than improving upon the shortcomings of 666, the band opted to play it safe and put forth minimal effort; therefore, I would not recommend anyone to invest much energy in listening to this. Laziness and mediocrity should not be rewarded.