It's albums like this that remind me why I listen to black metal: that true atmospheric, old-school Norwegian black metal. Throne of Katarsis deliver this five track like the harbingers of doom. In totality, the album could be likened to a series of storms blown straight in from hell - it's not hell itself, but definitely a product therefrom. Det Iskalde Morket meanders, reforms and unleashes determinedly, epic hellblasts with no room for any respite or shelter.
Straight off with the first (title) track, Helvete: Det Iskalde Morket, the tone builds up to fever pitch - a seemingly simple melody turns into a chaotic cadence: fast and high, but surprisingly full sounding. Part-way through this epic the storm abates to a tempo of rhythmic menace which insidiously mesmerises. By the time you really realise this, however, you've been lulled into the doomier strata, quiet lonely harmony...
Snap into Lysets Endeligt, the second track, as we get more occult and chaotic. This song sounds like the biography of a lamented, tortured soul. Brash escalating guitars twist around installments of demented screams, classic driven drumming, scarcely time for rest, even with the slowed down ending. At this point you realise that it's time to remind yourself of the fact Throne of Katarsis is just two dudes - one drummer and one strings aficionado.
Summoning the Horns - Perhaps this song gets its fair share of the several satanic rituals which were performed and recorded exclusively for 'this full length opus of blackness'. It has a dogged rolling perseverance hurrying it along all the way, with cascading guitar work. The high end played very high, but was not a chore to listen to, even though all throughout this release it's forever threading a nightmare complication of sonic web. Except for the acoustic ending to this song that is.
The Darkest Path creeps up slowly, ponderous, rare in a tempest such as this album, a slightly rocky doom outro sound, with a sprinkle of groove, reminiscent of early Sigh. You have about eight minutes to adjust to this calm before a few bars of reverb summon the blast-beat battery and hectic pace one again, but the onslaught is short.
Last song The Winds of Blasphemy moves in fast in contrast, showcasing more of Vardalv's precision drumming, or battery and percussion, as Throne of Katarsis put it. The bass keeps pulsing doom, journeying down pathways and gullies in the black soundscape.The vocals seem to posses something hysterical, lost and unresolved. The hectic pace is set again. Everything is busy, high and tempestuous. The music takes to the fore as much as the vocals in this track: the composition is superb.
Then, suddenly, the last die is cast and it's one final roulade race to the end.
There seem to be no boring parts to this production. Imfamroth's guitar is everywhere in the rhythm where you need it, as well as lead. An outstanding feature is the change of key, which, when it comes, is like a change in the barometric pressure that keeps building in this band's epic approach to the song construction.
Good black metal should be felt as well as heard. When this album ends, it's like a whole environment has been whisked away. Similar to when a cicada stops. You must acquire it! This album would be killer on vinyl!
Throne of Katarsis's Helvete: Det Iskalde Morket will be out on 15 June on Candlelight/Modern Invasion.