Saturday, February 9, 2013
Catacombs - Echoes Through The Catacombs
Sometimes when you're a band, you get a particular feeling about when it would be appropriate to listen to their music. For instance, some band play music that would be great to drive to or "driving music," some bands play music to cook to or "cooking music. Catacombs, particularly on this record, play "music to invoke nightmares to." Fall asleep with this on, and you may because at points it may sound slightly repetitive, and it is highly possible you may find yourself confronted by grotesque demons in your slumber.
The production is crisp, no instruments lose their edge and everything is heard well and clear and to an incredibly impressive degree of heaviness. This is truly a wall of noise battering you from many directions. Vocally, there isnt much going on. The vocals are, low, gutteral, and monotone which however suit the music and style of vocalist / guitarist / bassist / drummer / solitary-lovecraftian bard Xathagorra Mlandroth who, should probably choose a smaller name if he wants anyone to ever be able to remember "that guy who wrote all those long songs."
Vocals aside the musicianship is superb in a minimalistic approach. though there arent a million notes every second of every song as in some bands *cough* Dream Theater *cough* I found the musicianship on this album invigorating. Like lying down and have warm water poured over you every so often invigorating. Every note is hit with more conviction than a elderly nun saying no to anal sex. The bass is immense and as in your face as comming nose to nose with a stampede of angry collossi from an H.P. Lovecraft novel, which, I should probably say is where Xathagorra Mlandroth has found most of his lyrical inspiration. Drums - much like the hard hitting bass sound - add heaviness at every crash, snare, and bass beat. The guitar tone is also beautifully destructive in its heaviness. The tone of this album is probably my favorite part about it.
Though there isnt much pace or tempo variation, the two hour long songs (or at least to me, they seems hours long) is riddled with subtle secrets hidden within the music. Even after all these goodies - the tone, the heaviness, the subtleties - something must be said about the replayability. Replayability is solely dependant on the songs, the compositions themselves. And a thirty minute album with two meandering songs is not gonna be something youll find yourself listening to over and over unless you are really into this style, are in the mood to listen to something, or you constantly find yourself lonely and depressed with nothing to do with the endless time you have on your hands. After one or two listens, youll probably find your interest weening.
Xathagorra Mlandroth's songwriting on this album is what some would call sub-par. Together they give a good look at what this man is capable of however in the end we are left with two long songs with great tone, lots of great doomy riffs but nothing to really consider a song. Sure, funeral doom is known for outlandishly long and slow songs but you can still write long and slow SONGS. Overall, this is a great attempt at writing some really epic fueral doom masterpeices that just lacks compositionally. The future may reveal Xathagorra Mlandroth mastering his craft however until then we are left with just another above average sounding, compositionally lacking recording.
(The original draft for this I remember being rejected by Metal Archives because I kept adding random letters to Xathagorra Mlandroth's name through the review until at the end of the review, his name was about forty letters long.)