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The first and second albums can be grouped with one another as the first phase of Catamenia’s music, since both sound alike. With this album, the band’s music began to sound more uplifting, much more chilly, and just a whole more modern. By attaining this newfound tone, they had to sacrifice a few bits, but nothing too serious that would kill the experience.
The second album came off as fatigued and hopeless in the face of new ideas, but this album organized its resources and fought back with a change in tactics. For one, the addition of synths make the album sound more poignant, but also a tad bit less serious. Melodies brought on by the keys still work both in solo and escorting methods, moreso than the backing methods that occurred on the previous two. Riffs still dominate the show when it comes to who’s controlling the rhythm and lead, but there seems to be a little bit of fighting when it comes to what tone wants to rule: the evilness brought on by the guitars or the enchantment brought out by the keys. It’s like a duel party match-up that works most of the time and distinctive from one another.
Tremolo, scissor-like riffs are what you should be expecting before heading into this, but they sound much weaker than on the first two. Whereas the first two albums had a thick, barbaric sound, this album doesn’t really pack a whole lot of punch, and that’s with bass inclusion. Bass itself manages to grumble forward, but the lack of power from the guitars makes this album sound less menacing than the others, which is what I loved from the first two. It should be noted that this marks Catamenia’s journey into the more melodic death / power metal territories, like a migration into a different land that requires the adventurers to leave behind that which isn’t necessary to survive.
Drumming hasn’t really changed that much, which still manages to mark up fast-paced double bass galloping and an artillery showers worth of everything else from the kit. Blast beats are essential for building up the songs, but that’s expected; the drums tend to adjust speed based on the tempo of the guitars. While Immortal know how to make shit cold, Catamenia know how to make it magical (even though Immortal did this with At The Heart Of Winter and could do it whenever they want). The song “Into The Void” probably marks everything Catamenia can do right with this formula, producing an enthralling melody and epic leads emotional enough to paint the sky with auroras (also get samples of growls)
Catamenia’s slight change in sound keeps this one alive with passion that wasn’t heard on the sophomore. This second offensive would last a couple more albums in my eyes, though only time will tell if will hold up or falter.
With this album, it seems as if the band is finally starting to develop the skills necessary to become one of the melodic BM elite. However, the band is still not there when it comes to writing truly memorable songs, but to their credit, the band definately seems to have cultivated their own sound and style, as well as accurately capturing the proper icy, majestic atmosphere of melodic BM.
Regarding the actual music, on this album the band has made several improvements. For one, the keyboards and the guitars sound better than they did on the previous albums. I believe this is partly due to the addition of new axeman Ari Nissila (replacing Sampo Ukkola)- the riffs are fresher and offer more variety. Also, the whole production quality on this album is even better than the last album, which I felt sounded pretty good. And lastly, and most importantly, the band finally replaced drummer Toni Tervo, whom I felt was pretty mediocre, with Kimmo "Sir" Luttinen, who was definately a good choice as a replacement for Tervo, as the songs definately sound more energetic and aggressive. My only complaint about the band's performance regards the vocalist, as he still doesn't do a whole lot for me. I just get kind of irritated with his standard, BM rasp and occasional growly "demonic" vocals, although the band does a better job this time with balancing vocal parts with instrumental breaks.
Overall, this is a much stronger effort than their last album, "Morning Crimson," and although at this point I wouldn't recommend Catamenia to anyone yet, I still feel that the album offers a look at the band's true potential to be a contender for a place among the melodic BM elite.