Review: Katharos “Exuvian Heraldry”

Review: Katharos “Exuvian Heraldry”

- in Reviews

Katharos “Exuvian Heraldry”
Sliptrick records

This high-skilled Swedish horde brings together the Scandinavian Black and Death Metal sounding with epic symphonic arrangements, heavy guitar riffs, battle drums and majestic choirs, all embraced by a somber atmosphere that will penetrate your soul and darken your heart.

Bringing together the Scandinavian Black and Death Metal sounding with epic symphonic arrangements, heavy guitar riffs, battle drums and majestic choirs, with lyrical themes ranging from philosophy to Gnosticism and anti-Christianity, Swedish Symphonic Black/Death Metal horde Katharos released by the end of 2016 their debut full-length album, titled Exuvian Heraldry, a bold, rip-roaring opus in the vein of Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and Death.

Formed in 2006 in Stockholm, the multilayered capital city of Sweden, Katharos released in 2007 a demo named De Cinere, containing three of the songs found in Exuvian Heraldy, therefore sending a sound message to the world of underground metal that a new evil entity was born and ready to darken the hearts of fans of Extreme Metal. In Exuvian Heraldy, the band steps up their game, adding an extra dosage of epicness and obscurity to their compositions, with each one of the album’s seven robust songs offering the listener a wide variety of emotions and sounds.

In Abadonnas Intåg, gentle piano notes by keyboardist Christofer Sköld point to a smooth sonority that goes on for almost two minutes before an epic and blackened vibe impregnates the air, with vocalist and guitarist Richard Annerhall leading his hellish horde in this full-bodied 9-minute Symphonic Black Metal aria the likes of Dimmu Borgir and Emperor. Full of tempo changes, dark guitar lines and atmospheric elements, it perfectly exemplifies everything Katharos stand for, which is also the case in Thy Fortress of Regrets, an underground newborn classic of extreme music even more complex and gripping than the opening track. Such a beautiful name deserved an intricate and heavy musicality, and that’s what Katharos offer to the listener, with the guitars by Richard and his bandmate Max Müssbichler exhaling obscurity and anguish while the keyboards by Christofer sound absolutely Homeric.

Svaneti continues to put us in a trance and drag us to the Black Metal realm of Katharos, showcasing Stygian vociferations and drums played at the speed of light. Moreover, its combination of razor-edged riffs and atmospheric keyboards sounds fantastic, with its menacing second half putting an extra touch of evil inside our souls. Their first-ever single De Cinere is a devastating Black Metal hymn with heavy and melodic guitars supporting the satanic growls by Richard, not to mention how incredible its keyboards sound once again. Furthermore, it’s amazing how Katharos are capable of joining three or four distinct songs in one in a compelling and hellish way, or in other words, this is definitely the song that should be played when the gates of hell are open. The next tune, Schaktet, is the most Black Metal of all songs in terms of evilness and pugnacity, displaying a grievous, sluggish ambience in its beginning before blast beats and demonic gnarls take control of the musicality. Richard, Max and Christofer are in perfect sync with their vile riffs and deathlike keyboards, respectively, enhancing the song’s impact considerably.

Damnatio Memoriae follows a similar pattern as the previous tune, with sharp guitars and ferocious drums complementing the song’s ominous atmosphere. In addition, infernal gnarls and sheer blasphemy make this song highly recommended for lovers of the darkest side of music. And back to a more contemporary Dimmu Borgir-inspired Symphonic Black Metal and the early days of Cradle Of Filth, Awakening of the Converted is a robust and nefarious creation by this amazing horde where bassist Martin Müssbichler maintains a thunderous vibe from start to finish with his bass lines, generating a superb atmosphere for Richard to grasp the song’s darkly poetic lyrics (“The glowing horns split the floor / Weltered stench from millenniums of hate chokes my breath / It’s grasping control, usurping the throne of my inner self / Chaos: the dark ritual set free”).

If you want to experience Exuvian Heraldry in its entirety, you can stream the full album on YouTube and also on SoundCloud, and after being exposed to Katharos’ powerful sonority go check more details about this excellent Swedish band at their Facebook page, as they truly deserve our respect and recognition for the superior quality of their music. And in case you want to purchase a copy of Exuvian Heraldry for your private collection, all you have to do is go to Cd Baby or to Amazon to put your hands on such compelling opus. I’m sure you won’t regret investing your hard-earned money into this Black Metal extravaganza, embraced by a somber atmosphere that will penetrate your soul and darken your heart in a beautiful way.

Best moments of the album: Thy Fortress of Regrets and De Cinere.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 by Sliptrick records

Track listing

  1. Abadonnas Intåg 9:12
  2. Thy Fortress of Regrets 6:13
  3. Svaneti 8:31
  4. De Cinere 7:03
  5. Schaktet 8:57
  6. Damnatio Memoriae 8:29
  7. Awakening of the Converted 8:48

Band members
Richard Annerhall – vocals, guitars
Max Müssbichler – guitars
Martin Müssbichler – bass
Christofer Sköld – keyboards


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Score 83%
83 %
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