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Peaceful black metal - Is that an oxymoron? - 75%

MediocreGuitarist123, February 21st, 2011

Catamenia is a very obscure melodic black metal band, so much that they feel free to communicate with other fans online on sites like YouTube and Facebook. I’ve sort of felt that Catamenia has been an underrated band, though the same can be said for pretty much any melodic black metal band, unless it’s Dimmu Borgir or Emperor, of course.

Halls of Frozen North has a very nature-like and wintery feel, which would be implemented in later albums until Winternight Tragedies. Even with the moderately aggressive playing, the atmosphere still has a peaceful feeling that you want to relax to rather than bang your head to.

The guitars are the driving force of the album, providing lovely melodies and catchy riffs. The keyboards also play a strong role in the sound, helping create the atmosphere with its ambience and wintery sound effects. The bass is fairly audible in the mix and there are some pretty good bass-lines and the drum work is very consistent and provides a solid skeleton for the music. Mika Tönning’s vocals, for me, are average at best; no more impressive than an average black metal vocalist. At times, though, he can pull off some death growls and even an Abbath-like croak, but they happen at an occasion, though. There are some moments that feel a bit tiring, but the musicianship is still solid overall.

There are some things that I don’t like about Halls of Frozen North. All of the songs average at 2-3 minutes, which is not too much of a problem. However, there are 14 tracks on the album, with some tracks feeling like filler. I felt that Catamenia could have removed several of the tracks and made it around 30-35 minutes because that’s what you want when you want a more straightforward album.

Catamenia’s Halls of Frozen North isn’t really special beyond a 75%. It’s a good start for Catamenia, but occasional tired riffs and filler sort of hurt the album. Still, it’s at least worthy of a listen for people into the melodic/symphonic forms of black metal.