without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
This is one of those truly inexplicable releases you come across once in a while. Having totally changed your sound - to tepid reception - your options are to forge on and try to make something of it, or shift back and hope no-one notices anything, right? Add to that the fact that for some reason your entire band has just left you, including the closest things you had to long-term members over the past ten years, and you're up a certain creek without a certain instrument. Some sort of awesome comeback is in order for Riku Hopeakoski, surely.
Why the obvious choice would be to rerecord your old material, which is primarily in your old epically inclined blasteriffic style, I can't fathom. Having turned your back on the change in sound you recently made (which wasn't too bad), you go back a couple of evolutions, remake keyboard-led melodic black metal in the black metal style you attempted a couple albums ago, for... fuck, this is going in circles. At any rate Catamenia, former slightly folky melodic black metal showstealers, followed up the iffy Cavalcade with this dry and useless set of revisited oldies. I would say read on, but personally I wouldn't bother.
What is amazing about this dire compilation is that they have gone one-up on the tradition of pissing all over your greatest hits, by rerecording their crowd pleasers so badly that you start to wonder how these songs could ever have sounded any good in the first place. That in itself is almost inexplicable. How can 'Coldbound' be a tiring trawl rather than a pounding stride? How do you make 'My Blood Stained Path' and 'Lost in Bitterness' sound so lazy? How do those powering riffs and triumphant motifs get so half-arsed? These people aren't trying. Or they are trying but they're really, really untalented. 'Hollow Out - Chaos Born' is another example. Sounds like its being phoned in from another continent. Nowhere are the guitars spiky or the drums powerful.
The sound is pretty lame in general. Not only are the drums fairly uninspiring in their execution, lacking any of the hammering precision this band has benefited from with various drummers in the past, but they sound muffled and flat. The bass guitar sounds ridiculous, as if they are trying to get a heavy sound in there, but just don't have the right equipment or expertise. The guitars meanwhile, where once they were piercing and noble, are just thin and irritating.
They also give their new "black metal" (pfff) treatment to recent songs. The most confusing is 'Cavalcade', where they re-do it with harsh vocals. What are they trying to say? What are they aiming for? Fuck knows. They top off this cavalcade (HA!! Yeah, fuck you!!) of twattishness with a metalcore-as-hell sounding Bon Jovi cover, just to show you they're taking this all totally seriously and that the new Catamenia really deserves your hard-earned.
In the interest of fairness, 'Pimeä Yö' sounds about alright. Nothing on the original but not actually offensive in the same way most of this tripe is. But in general the band are finally living up to their ill-chosen name: having lost their tastiness and tightness, they are now just spattering rancid menstrual spew all over the place. Although calling the people responsible for this "the band" is pretty fucking silly at this point considering the rotating line-up Riku has found himself surrounded by for years now. Anyway, it sucks. Nothing to see here, people.
And the wolf is back on the cover but the artwork is really, really terrible. Damn.