Review: Katatonia “Jhva Elohim Meth… The Revival” [VIC Records]

Review: Katatonia “Jhva Elohim Meth… The Revival” [VIC Records]

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User Rating : 4.3 (1 votes)

Although Dance of December Souls will forever be the emotional monolith that defined Katatonia’s early sound, there were in fact two other minor releases that weren’t too far off. For Funerals to Come is one of them, which arguably had more in common with the band’s signature sound than Brave Murder Day had and the other one goes by the name of Jhva Elohim Meth… the Revival (which for years I had mistaken for an actual EP – but I digress).

While a peaceful introduction of rainfall drops and an acoustic guitar noodling around might prepare you for an emotional rollercoaster not unlike that of Dance of December Souls, Jhva Elohim Meth… the Revival feels more like a young Katatonia trying to express itself in a more restrained manner. Lord Seth already sounds recognizable at this point, but at the same time refrains from the emotional outbursts he’d be known for, causing “Without God” to sound less overpowering than it would one year later. Whereas the latter version would recall an authentic band expressing themselves in a raw, almost uncontrolled manner, this version recalls a younger band that’s just not quite as passionate yet.

Otherwise you end up with two other shorter tunes that both feature a welcoming surprise. “Palace of Frost” veers between Paradise Lost-esque melancholy and Bathory-esque triumph; at its heaviest it recalls a march onward to battle, not unlike the epic segments of Blood Fire Death, yet Katatonia were fond of Gothic and it clearly shows here (although not as much as it did on Dance of December Souls). It’s an unusual if fascinating mixture mix that several other Swedish extreme metal bands of its time had a thing for, yet it strangely seems to pay off. “The Northern Silence” feels somewhat epic despite being a fairly short song (it must be that gong that kicks the track off), yet again balances between ethereal dreamy mood and captivating guitar work; especially by the time that stinging tremolo picked riff appears out of nowhere and leads the track into a different direction for a while. Still, although I’m fond of this tune, I could have done without that final rushed verse and instead wished the track was slightly expanded; it clearly had the right kind of vibe for it.

The thing is, as Jhva Elohim Meth… the Revival features one track that sounds slightly inferior when compared to its full length version and two solid, if shorter numbers, it’s overall missing the knock-out punch that prevents it from reaching a classic status. Since the vocals aren’t quite as dominant, riffs aren’t quite as magical and compositions not as emotionally evocative, the real deal was clearly about to be delivered one year later. That said, fans of Katatonia‘s early sound who haven’t heard this yet should certainly give it a try.

Release date: July 7, 1993

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