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I am a very big fan of raw black metal and I love all black metal bands from Norway like Mayhem, Burzum, Gorgoroth, and Immortal. I really love that cold atmosphere in the music and the raw production. I was in search for a black metal band that makes music in a melancholic and scary mood and this masterpiece is what I found: Throne Of Katarsis' Ved Graven (English: "At The Grave"), released in 2011 through Candlelight Records, a fantastic full-length album.
The album begins with some really confusing and mysterious/scary guitars tones and after only 20 seconds the lead guitar comes in with a riff built in a standard black metal format, dirty minor chords, and tremolo-picked at a high tempo. You can imagine what comes next - fast and really tight blast beats. The first scream of the singer and frontman of the band can be heard after one minute of furious blast beats. His voice can be described as screams or high growls and these are the only techniques used. Sometimes it also varies and that high, harsh growl becomes darker. The voice is typical for black metal, a powerful voice full of pain and anger, of hate and desperation, and of regret and sorrow. I really like the lyrics and that they are full of blasphemy. Used topics in the lyrics are the usual (for ToK standards): Satanism, death, and nature, and as you can read from the song titles, the lyrics are on Norwegian and English. Sick lyrics, so check them out.
These characteristics for the first track of the album also fit the other tracks. They all fit together and have this evil feeling that I love. On this album you can find fast and slow songs, really aggressive ones, and slow melancholic depressive ones: everything that the heart of a black metal fan needs.
I will try to describe the music and the sound more precise. This is definitely nothing totally new in the black metal scene, so don't expect the best black metal release of the decade, but one of the best releases of 2011 in my opinion, of course. The music is mixed very well, the bass is present, and I really love the way it sounds on this album . It is also doesn't always follow the guitar, but plays own variations and melodies at some point. The drums are played tight as I said and they are varied and dynamic; a very good studio drummer. The guitar tone is raw and it has much gain and "highs" in it and not really much bass. It is something between heavy crunch and extreme distortion and it fits very well.
In the end, the cover artwork makes this album perfect and I would like to recommend this album to all "true" black metal fans. The atmosphere of this album is so fantastic, you can't go wrong with Throne Of Katarsis. Check them out.
(originally written for my blog : Facemelter Webzine)