Record Label: Death Kvlt Productions/Redefining Darkness Records
Rising from one of the coldest regions of the planet, Winnipeg, Manitoba of Canada, where temperatures are below freezing most of the time, this band represents the cold itself. Consisted of Illartha (alias Brook, bass), Kryptys (alias Kyle, drums) and Funeror (alias Cavan, guitars, vocals) released their debut album on 7 of August via Redefining Darkness Records and Death Kvlt Productions, which are two of the most important underground labels on extreme metal.
So, all the background seems perfect – a band of Black Metal coming from a freezing region; co-produced by two great labels; what rests there to discover? Oh yes, their music. So, here it starts, but before that let me remind you that I‘m always in search of new interesting bands and I’m not the type of guy that ruminates old stuff; certainly I have great respect for all those monumental bands that opened the Gates but I am also open-minded to all those that dared to enter. And this band came out of nowhere into my hands, one of the hottest nights of August.
So, all being set, I put my headphones on – because I am a “night bird” working usually at night – I push the play button on my player and here comes the indispensable prelude with a mix of grunting sounds, some strange techno-electronica tempo and whispering voices that set the pace. Listening to that, I was almost disappointed and nearly stopped the record, convinced that this was another disillusion among the so many. Then starts the 2nd track Dismal Existence, opening before our ears an apocalyptic landscape, with melancholic guitar riffing, pummeling drumming and typical Black Metal screams that really sets the pace leading us to raw old school Black Metal. When this “appetizer” ends, then follows a real stand out track, called Ritualistic Vomit, with remarkable tempo changes, from inducing melancholic mid-tempo riffing to blast beats at the culmination of the track; the atmosphere is icier than ever and this is the sound of Nocturnal Departure.
Then follows another stand out track, Astral Transcendence, with a more depressive feeling with a loud bass tone, cymbals emphasizing the funeral march and all of a sudden all instruments blasting with a fine chord progression and black metal screams. This is the style of the band; tracks that start on an almost ritualistic tempo and then speeding up to up-tempo with all instruments blazing. This is real Black Metal old school reminding Mayhem’s early start or even Sargeist. The following two tracks – Mental Abyss and Ethereal Enlightenment – have the same pattern, screams are also a shivering experience and those two tracks flow very easily because of the intricate musical patterns they execute, they never get you bored but they leave you with a feeling to want more of them.
Then comes the eponymous track – Cathartic Black Rituals – starting with all instruments ablaze and ghost-like screams, note also a beautiful guitar solo and a fine epic chord progression. Monolithic Decay starts at a mid-tempo Blackened Death Metal tune but then again the band sets a groovy beat and takes off the song; great job, also one of my favorites.
The penultimate track of the album is the blasting Morbid Existence with awesome bass lines and great tempo changes. Then the last but not the least is Insidious Strangulation; a track that gets you by the throat and clings to your skin like plague rotting your inner being to the core; great closure for a memorable album.
The production though is raw it sounds very fresh, leaving space for all instruments to breathe, rendering them clearly audible. Anyway, it is an old school Black Metal album and that is how it should be, even their logo is completely unreadable and the cover art is a black and white painting with their logo in purple color.
You should check out this band because they have the flame in their guts. They have released an outstanding debut album, with great highlights but as a whole, it is truly memorable. I do not find any flaws, even the duration of the album; 40’ 25” for 10 tracks makes you want to push the replay button. A great raw Black Metal experience that came out of nowhere one very hot night in August but it will accompany me during the cold days of winter that follow.
Nocturnal Departure – Cathartic Black Rituals (Full Album)