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Kathartik - Mind.Abyss.Terror - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, January 12th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Independent (Digipak)

I have stumbled upon the German black/death commando Kathartik via the one and only Goreminister, as one of his band mates is also active here and he has therefore posted a review on his very entertaining YT channel. While this lad is playing the bass under the pseudonym Major Maggotfeeder in his other band he is also one of two guitar players of Kathartik. The other one called Vharst is (or has been) live member of the underground cult black metal act as Nargaroth, and he is also active for another fantastic band named Mor Dagor. So based on the experience combined my expectations have been high. I am going to stop the name dropping at this point as it is the music that matters. And what can I say? “Mind.Abyss.Terror” is a disgusting and brain-smashing, yet also intelligent piece of dark and rotten metal.

Kathartik have put a lot of emphasis on technical perfection and a nice mixture of straight forward and hammering grooves and more complex arrangements, while never losing the focus on creating a deep and unsettling atmosphere. While sometimes using more experimental ways to express their art proper riffs keep finding their way to the surface amongst the assault, coupled with tasteful leads that add a sense of traditional second wave black metal melodies to the more stoic death/doom main chords. Kathartik are seamlessly combining a wall of terrifying melody with destructive drumming and some more ambient build-ups, adding up to a captivating whole.

At first this album can be kind of a difficult listen, as you are bombarded with a lot of chaotic structures, and some moments are so bleak and heavy that you will be fully consumed by the music, which could make you feel as if the light is starting to seep out of you. There are a lot of blast-beat sections and some more complex parts, but all songs show a certain level of groove at the same time, following clearly defined patterns and stringent build-ups. The band members have a clear idea when it comes to songwriting as each track has a very unique structure with trademark hooks and often memorable vocal parts, delivered with a lot of passion and anger by singer Siegfried.

There is a full body of work, moving up and down, back and forth across the annuals of hammering death, emotive black and sprinkles of stoic doom metal. There is talent, charisma, and enough memorable moments to make this a really captivating piece of art. The album’s replay value is unquestionable, and each consecutive spin will make you discover some new details you might have missed before. Naming a single song is always a bit difficult when it comes to this kind of more challenging extreme metal, but if you check out e.g. the last track “Of Fire & Floods pt.II” you should get a nice picture of what Kathartik are all about.

The sound is crushingly heavy, yet transparent and dynamic at the same time. I am no expert when it comes to technical descriptions, but the mix is perfectly balanced and while I assume a lot of reverb and similar effects have been put on top of the music to create a cavernous and cold sound every detail can be clearly identified. “Mind.Abyss.Terror” might not be for everyone, but in case you are seeking something that is really vile, piercing your soul and sending you into the void this album is for you. Excellent stuff.