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A quick fix of Hellenic black metal mastery - 80%

CannibalCorpse, July 5th, 2018

When Hellenic black metal veteran Stefan Necroabyssious gets involved with decent musicians bearing a similar mindset, one can be certain that the following output WILL BE high quality, no matter what. A few months before the release of the new Varathron masterpiece Patriarchs of Evil this year, his other project Katavasia dropped this very EP here in late 2017, aptly titled Daemonic Offering.

Though it seems that the master himself is producing true-to-the-core Hellenic black metal creations even more frequently in recent years, there is a distinct difference between Varathron and Katavasia stylistically. Sure, both projects are deeply rooted in the aforementioned subgenre, but while Varathron ventures into more varied, slightly modernized and perhaps more sophisticated realms, Katavasia resembles very much the genre's primordial soup ca. 1993 - a time where mostly demos of this sound were circulating through the Greek underground. I've spend many years on the quest for finding similar bands but only came up with a handful of releases that truly quenched my thirst.

This band released their debut named Sacrilegious Testament in 2015, a high-quality record instantly proving that this formation was another force to be reckoned with. Daemonic Offering does not fare quite as well, displaying a slightly dull production job with too much emphasis on being oldschool. This leads to a near absence of clarity in the higher frequencies, meaning the guitars and screaming vocals are drowned a little too much by the lower end of the spectrum, resulting in a uneven mix that tends to crackle and hiss, especially when the cymbals are hit more fiercely. Compared to the sturdy songwriting-craft exhibited on the full-length CD, Daemonic Offering is a little lighter on memorable standout-moments and the impact of the lead guitars/soloing is slightly diminished by the rather weak production effort. Of course, it is a little easier to be particularly critical when there are only two songs on display, since I was able to take these tracks apart even more than individual songs on a 45 minute record.

Having said that, this is still a fine EP for fans of atmospheric extreme stuff who have an affinity for classic/heavy guitar riffs in their metal and perhaps a teaser for more and hopefully even stronger output from this band and I personally can't wait to see what Necroabyssious & company are up to in the following years.

If you are familiar with the demos of bands like Kawir, Necromantia and Tatir (this band here is named after a song of theirs!) you should definitely check out this band; I promise you – it will be worth your time.

originally written for

The Greek bloodbath but way better - 93%

tomcat_ha, December 10th, 2017

Katavasia are a Greek black metal super-group with members from better known bands such as Hail Spirit Noir and Varathron. This EP, their second release is also nothing but classic Greek black metal. For me they are another piece of evidence that either somebody put some weird poison in Greek waters recently or the economic crisis really did invigorate the wider Greek music scene.

This EP is one of the purest embodiments of classic Greek black metal. Traditional heavy metal inspired riffs, dynamic song-writing and a mystical atmosphere, all of these elements are present on this EP. The catchiness of the riffs deserves a specific mention, too often melodic black metal from outside Greece is sugary in one form or another. As these guys managed to nail the formula there is no moment of cheesiness on here.

The flaws on this EP do not really detract from the experience. The mix is a tad unbalanced and the reverb on the snare is a bit overpowering. 2 minutes into this EP and you will no longer really be bothered by these very minor flaws. Personally I just wish the EP had a song or 2 more and of course I only mean that in the best way possible. At the end of the day this EP might very well be the best black metal release of 2017.