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Splendor of Elements - 93%

Wilytank, September 9th, 2011

(originally posted on the MetalMusicArchives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)

Heavily keyboard driven, Kataxu makes some really mind-blowing music. Here stands Hunger of Elements, three lengthy black metal songs and three mid-length keyboard interludes. Normally, I have a problem in interludes and have stated that excessive amounts of them ruined albums like Blind Guardian's Nightfall in Middle Earth and Virgin Steele's The House of Atreus Part 1, but what makes this album much different is 1) I like black metal way more than power metal, 2) the black metal songs are much longer than any of the songs on Nightfall... or ...Atreus Part 1, and 3) the songs are AMAZING!

Right from the first guitar and keyboard notes from "In My Dungeon!", I was hooked. In fact, this song by itself deserves a wide amount of praise on its own. Kataxu's "astral metal" really makes itself apparent here. The black metal and keyboards really make this one of the best songs I've ever heard. I'm rather confused by the song name though, as the feeling that I get from it is of some colorful nebula of dark blues, reds, and purples; not of some cramped dungeon. Even though there are a lot of big moments in this song, it all seems to build up to the best part of the song, the outro that starts at 11:06 and goes to the end of the song. This is one of the best types of songs for me: the music isn't repeated often and lyrics aren't repeated at all; the music builds onto itself with the climatic outro to bring it all home.

The next big song, "Below the Tree of Life", sounds like it could easily fit into Nokturnal Mortum's 'Weltanschauung' album (released the same year as this album). The big difference though is the keyboard emphasis. Kataxu still uses the keyboard as the dominant instrument and it still makes for a wondrous listening experience. The melodic guitar lead at 3:59 is one of the bigger highlights, and another is again the process of the song ending. Though not as strong as "In My Dungeon!", Kataxu's expertise is shown again as the buildup in the entire song to an epic close.

The final song here is "The Manifesto of the Unity". It begins on a lower key, but that ends up changing. At this point, there's nothing really new to expect. It's definitely on the same level as "Below the Tree of Life". There are nicer lower intensity growls that almost resemble spoken word. As the song goes forth, it develops a more sorrowful tone to it and ends with that same tone as if giving a sad sigh that it's all over.

Though this album only has three real songs, they are over ten minutes in length and collectively exceed the 30 minute minimum that I would classify as an album. These songs are very good too though. "In My Dungeon!" could have easily achieved the score I'm giving this album by itself. I really hope the Kataxu team is working on something new. It's been over six years since this release and I'd like to see if they can still pull the same tricks off.