Metal Review – Katakombi: Katakombi

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Metal Review – Katakombi: Katakombi
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Katakombi: Katakombi
Death Metal, Experimental Doom Metal
Hämähäkki Music, Self-release
June 15th, 2014
Release length: 26:54
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Katakombi is a Finnish born four-piece Experimental Doom and Death Metal band. Hailing from Helsinki, the group formed in the autumn of 2011 and holds Uhrimalia and former Matar drummer MN, as well as ex-Brainthrash vocalist and bassist Ilja D in its ranks. Evening out the rest of the group is Saarikoaski on guitar and Jokke K who handles the synthesizers. In 2012 they released their first demo, a cassette recording titled Hamaran vartija. Two years after that largely overlooked recording, that is unless you take into consideration the few interviews floating around on the net, the outfit returns in 2014 with their debut self-titled EP. But does Katakombi have what it takes to accomplish what that first outing simply couldn’t do, or is this another destined to be buried and long forgotten?

The first track you come across is also the longest of the three. “Vaara kuu” is a mixture of eighties synthesized music that creates a truly creepy and horrific surrounding on par with the eerie introduction to Halloween III, if not what you might expect to hear on The Thing or any other John Carpenter film really. The additional static effects seem like that of an out of range radio station, but hit more like the white washout of a raging snow storm that fades just past four-and-a-half minutes in as the band commences their rendition with the synths still in play. The build here is a slow burn, finding deeper distortions and the powerful twang of the bass guitar rumbling as if the approach of some unstoppable force. Thinner passages like around the seven minute mark carry that recent cold atmosphere with a dark and hopeless sensation, as if gazing upon the barren wasteland left behind from its wake. The only problem is the gap of silence around the twelve minute mark, as if cramming a second track in that suddenly cuts back to the bass heavy groove established right before it while overlapping the additional radio static and more Science Fiction-esque synths over it that largely conflicts with everything the past eleven minutes perfectly established.

“Liejuhaudan vanki” introduces the vocals right away instead of nearly half way through like on “Vaara kuu.” The slower start takes its time to establish a Death Metal foundation that becomes the dominant point of this cut. The grooves and drum patterns that follow not only show off the rawer qualities of the release, but also put together a pounding barbaric rhythm that beats away at the chest until losing steam and giving way to a trudging pace once more with moderately eerie synth effects once more that seem to push being lost in a dark cavern but fail to present the tension or emotion that would normally come with it. Even the ending throws a psychedelic curve ball out of nowhere that is impressively executed, but rather again derails from pretty much everything the past seven minutes spent setting up.

“Sokea jumala” is much like “Liejuhaudan vanki” in that it starts out with a Death Metal heavy performance, though doesn’t bother to waste any time with an introduction. It’s an abrasive piece that mixes growling with some harsher rasps for the first two minutes before throwing back to the snow blind horrific synths of “Vaara kuu.” Almost immediately after there is a moment of crushing Doom Metal brutality teased, but it gives way to the groovier Death Metal riffs once more, building to yet another tickle of the blunt hopelessness that doesn’t last too long. While expanding on those sections would have been nice to see happen, this is the only track that doesn’t feel like the journey was suddenly derailed at the last minute for no apparent reason, causing a sense of completion by the time you make it to the end that is lacking on the other two tracks.

Overall, Katakombi‘s biggest offence ends up a failure to properly conclude most of the performances. Sure you can argue that’s why the group is Experimental or Avant-Garde, but really there’s no reason to leaving the listener craving closure after a long journey such as this. But what really stands out about this EP is how the band works in that eerie, haunting, tension building eighties Horror synthesizer score flawlessly. If Katakombi can work past the abrupt change of pace at the conclusion of their material, there’s no doubt these guys will be able to achieve the same cult status as Viking Crown or even Necrophagia. Until then, Katakombi stands as an EP easily worth at least sampling on group’s official Bandcamp page.

01. Vaara kuu – 14:02
02. Liejuhaudan vanki – 8:31
03. Sokea jumala – 7:48
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Katakombi
Katakombi

Digital review copy of this release provided by Hämähäkki Music via Against PR.