Thursday, December 20, 2012


Katharsis - Fourth Reich
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. So Nail the Hearts
2. Eucharistick Funereall
3. Reckoning
4. Emeralde Graves
5. Sinn Koronation

After the split with Antaeus I had hoped a new release from Katharsis was imminent.  The project had been pretty quiet for a nearly three years so to see any activity was wonderful.  For their return Katharsis released, what they are calling an EP, even though this clocks in over forty-five minutes in length.  So don't be fooled by the EP description on sites, this really is as long as a full length despite only have five songs.  As usual with Katharsis and NED they have put together an extremely alluring cover.  So alluring that I actually took it upon myself to buy a patch of it.  The booklet is impeccably designed, the prior Katharsis booklets were very well done, but this one stands out quite a bit to me.  The art alone is well worth the purchase!

Musically Katharsis is heading in the direction of the more atmospheric tracks found on "World Without End."  Basically, if you really liked "Wytchdance" and "World Without End" you will essentially love this album.  However, if you were more keen on Katharsis' chaotic structuring you may find this release wanting. I'm not sure this is an indication of things to come for the band, since they only consider this an EP.  I will say that I am quite glad Katharsis put together this album, because I wanted to get immersed into this type of music Katharsis had been skirting around with on the prior album.  I felt my immersion was interrupted by the furious and intense tracks, but on this you can really get into that material.  There is only one break and that is the song "Reckoning" and this sounds like it pulled riffing from the demo days of Katharsis.  However, it's not as "chaos unleashed" as some of the material can be, so it didn't change the atmosphere up that much.  They bring us right back into it with "Emeralde Graves," which is nearly a five minute Ambient sort of track.  It really sets an excellent tone for closing with "Sinn Koronation," which is one of the finest on this album.  The whole closing sequence is just mesmerizing.

Personally, I think this is one of my favorite Katharsis albums.  Perhaps because my tastes have matured as this band has matured as well over the years.  It may lack the unbridled chaos of the earlier works, but there is something special about the way this material was composed and it really requires full immersion to get something out of this release.  The lyrics are even written in a very interesting and unique fashion and I highly recommend sitting down and reading through the booklet while playing the album at maximum volume!  As Katharsis often demands...

Antaeus & Katharsis Split
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Misery to the Defeated
2. Black Lust

Side Antaeus: ...coming eventually...
Side Katharsis:

Katharsis has returned to doing 7" vinyl splits, but this time with the great band Anteaus.  There is no limitation listed on the copy I own, so I'm not sure of the limitation.  I'm sure it is limited somehow.  As usual with an NED release quality is the focus and it's pressed on heavy vinyl with an A4 insert.  The insert is quite beautiful and on one side features Anteaus art and on the other a lot more to read from Katharsis.  The Katharsis insert is arranged chaotically as one would expect, but it looks similar to what a cassette booklet would look like when entirely opened.  It prints the lyrics for the song featured and has some other random writings and phrases, the most interesting of which is: "We must secure the depravation of the children and ruin the whole fukking world... 14 Wrds."  An interesting change to the typical NS version of the 14 Words and Katharsis' approach is far more appropriate to Black Metal.

For this split we get a sort of "lost" recording from the days of "World Without End."  Like the other tracks on "World Without End" "Black Lust" is nearly nine minutes in length, so we certainly get a treat for the length of this song.  "Black Lust" could have easily fit on the album and if you enjoyed "World Without End" you can certainly find merit in this song.  It definitely blends that chaotic style with the more atmospheric style that I was describing below.  I think this track trends more towards the Katharsis chaotic style, but it is certainly well done!  So... for nearly nine minutes immerse yourself in Black Lust!

Katharsis - VVorldVVithoutEnd
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. Eden Belovv
2. Kross Fyre
3. VVytchdance
4. Ascent from Ghoulgotha
5. ecifircaS kimsoK
6. VVorldVVithoutEnd

After putting out so many cassettes and splits it seems Katharsis decided to just skip to their third full length with nothing in between to tempt the listener.  They return to the illustrious NED record label producing extremely fine music for this release.  This is no exception to their fine roster and Katharsis produce, yet another, fine album.

I remember when this first came out and I wasn't as taken with it.  It had to grow on me a bit.  I got this, maybe a year or so after I had found "Kruzifixxion", so maybe my head was still reeling from that albums insanity.  I am not sure this album has better riffing, but it certainly has more accessible production than "Kruzifixxion".  However, "Eden Below" wastes no time and just tears the listener into Katharsis' razor sharp sound with an intoxicating opening riff backed by an excellent drum line that fills out the idea.  From this moment I thought Katharsis had managed to truly outdo the riffing ideas on "Kruzifixxion", unfortunately I think "Kruzifixxion" overall had the better writing.  "World Without End" is still quite spectacular and everything I love about Katharsis is certainly alive and well, but I felt more hooked into "Kruzifixxion" for some reason.  I think they blended in more of the hook-riff concept from Thrash than on this album.  I think this album tends to pull the listener sharply in different directions more than I would like sometimes and if they had managed that push and pull better it might have been a more intense and meaningful listen.  For example, the epic track "Wytchdance" is surrounded by more intense tracks and the utterly insane "ecifircaS kimsoK" precedes the epic title track.  I think if they had re-arranged the track listing a little to trend towards the slower and more epic sounding songs it wouldn't have been so jarring of a listen for me.  The riffs on "Wytchdance" and the title track are simply magnificent.  The title track, especially, generates some of the best atmosphere you could ever hope for in a Black Metal song.

When it comes to production value this is basically how I want all Katharsis to sound.  It really treads the border between too harsh and too clean perfectly.  "Kruzifixxion" was a little too harsh for the sound Katharsis was trying to evolve to, but "World Without End" has absolutely perfect production for their style of music.  They've managed to put their thing guitar tone into the mix perfectly, so Katharsis maintains that razors edge signature sound.  With this recording quality, though, we finally get to hear some bass stand out into the mix, which gives their sound a fuller feel.  The vocal performance is spectacular.  It's doused in so much echo the individual words are almost indistinguishable, especially when Darkh launches into a rapid fire delivery.  He still includes some of those maddening shrieks that really stood out on "Kruzifixxion" and I hope that jarring effect never goes away.  Katharsis is smart with their shrieks, they use them sparingly, so it's a much more effective element when listening.

In the end I feel like this is probably on par with "Kruzifixxion".  I will say I would love to hear a full album of Katharsis' more atmospheric styled songs, because they are quite exceptional.  This album tries to give the listener the best of controlled chaos as only Katharsis can do it, but they also have some atmospheric epics.  Katharsis, frankly, is excellent at doing both, but they should be more judicious on how they present the material in my opinion.  I think I'll present the opening track, because that opening riff just screams to be shared!

Katharsis - Kruzifixxion
Norma Evangelium Diaobli, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Last Wound
2. Interlude I
3. Painlike Paradise
4. Interlude II
5. The Chosen One
6. Blood Staineth the Temple Stones
7. Interlude III
8. Luziferion
9. Interlude IV
10. Infernal Solar Vortexx (A Vision in Three Parts)

This band was recommended to me because I was discussing Blut Aus Nord with someone and he mentioned I should hear this album.  Since I loved Blut Aus Nord I ordered this album right away.  When I got this in I was surprised to see them signed to the same label as Deathspell Omega, so needless to say I was expecting some quality music.

I was sort of expecting a rival to Blut Aus Nord’s “The Work Which Transforms God,” however, I got something entirely different.  What I ended up with was some of the best raw Black Metal to be heard.  The opening scream on “The Last Wound” is one of the most heart wrenching screams I think I’ve ever heard.  I don’t believe this band has managed to release a ground breaking or inherently new styled album, but it is well executed music.  Every song is superbly written and I found everything to be quite enjoyable.

A different aspect of this band is the fact that even though they are playing raw Black Metal, their songs are very epic in length, some songs spanning ten minutes.  I’ve never really seen bands in this sub-genre do that.  Probably because other raw Black Metal bands are not good enough to write a ten minute song and keep a listener interested.  Another strange part about “Kruzifixxion” is that between almost every song is an interlude track.  At first I believed these passages to be merely silence, but upon closer inspection they have some whispering to them.  I didn’t turn it up loud enough to see if I could decipher the whispering.  I didn’t think a band like this would be using a keyboard intro anytime soon, but that thought went right out of my head as soon as “Blood Staineth the Temples Stones” came on.  It by far has one of the eeriest sounding keyboard intro’s I’ve ever heard.  I’d venture to say that it is so ominous and evil sounding that this is the music that Abruptum boasts to play.  If Abruptum played anything half as good as this, they might have actually become a good project.  Katharsis made a smart move by closing this album with “Infernal Solar Vortexx,” which is a collection of catchy and excellent guitar riffs for almost ten minutes straight.  I couldn’t ask for anything more on this album.  The opening riff alone of “Infernal Solar Vortexx” makes this album worth listening to.

The lyrical content of “Kruzifixxion” is unfortunately the standard Satanic and Anti-Christian type used all too often by bands today.  It’s not that I wholly disagree with everything, but the lyrical approaches do get somewhat overdone.  The art in the booklet, while overly simple, is actually pretty interesting to look at.  In another setting I would probably say it looked foolish… but it works for Katharsis.

Overall this is an excellent album to listen to.  It may sound nothing like Blut Aus Nord in my opinion, but it is definitely worth looking into.  If you are in general a fan of raw Black Metal then this is definitely a must hear release.  It is a wonderfully harsh and intense ride.

Katharsis & Black Witchery Split
Sombre Records, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. Deathwards
2. Shine Beyonde
Black Witchery:
3. Crush the Messiah
4. Sadist (Bathory Cover)

Side Black Witchery: ...Probably never, bestial Black Metal is not really my thing, so it would be unfair
Side Katharsis:

Before we can delve into the second Katharsis full length, which we were teased with in the form of a rehearsal, we find yet another split coming to us first.  This is another 7" vinyl limited to 666 copies which is strangely not numbered for a Sombre Records release. Inside you will find a nice folded double sided insert. One side features information about the Black Witchery release and a band photo with some extra art that is more in the Katharsis vein. On the other side you get Katharsis' page which has lyrics and more killer art.

With this split Katharsis present a newly written song and a re-recording of an old song from "Endless Chaos".  "Deathwards" despite being a new track sounds like it is taken from the old archives of Katharsis material.  It is a fast and furious track that has a touch of that chaotic nature their early demo days had.  It's not as well recorded as "666", but it is recorded well enough for us to hear everything that is going on.  "Shine Beyonde" still retains some of that fierce chaotic edge, probably due to the way these tracks were recorded, but it is certainly much clearer than the original.

Moonblood & Katharsis Split
Sombre Records, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. Supreme Black Forces of Steel
2. Watchtowers of Darkness (Part II)

Side Moonblood: here
Side Katharsis:

A legendary split from two legendary bands limited to 666 hand-numbered copies and pressed on 7" vinyl.  I actually did manage to track down a copy of this legendary split and I own #657.

Despite the fact that this says "Part II" in the title, I really think this is just a re-recording of "Watchtowers of Darkness" from "The Red Eye of Wrath".  There are probably some minor changes and this track is about two minutes longer than the original.  So, at the very least, it isn't just some re-recording the band offers up.  Since the riffs being used are from an earlier time the song has a much more primitive feel to the song writing, however, with the new studio quality you can hear a lot more structure in this song.  I think a lot of Katharsis' chaos was production induced, but with a cleaned up recording and possible re-arrangement it's a lot more on the lines of "666".  The early Katharsis material doesn't really have that sharp razors edge "666" does, but it certainly sounds a lot more full compared to the original.  If you liked early Katharsis material, you are definitely in for a treat with this recording.  Personally, I think I would've preferred an entirely new song somewhere between "666" and "Kruzifixxion".

Katharsis - Rehearsal Tape for 2nd LP
Self Released, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. Painlike Paradise
2. The Last Wound
3. Blood Staineth the Temple Steps
4. Luciferion
5. Outro

After a very successful full length Katharsis wasted no time in returning to the world of writing new material.  They've recorded a rehearsal with four new songs to give us a taste of what they've been up to in the writing process.  This would be the last rehearsal tape Katharsis would ever bother releasing.  I am not opposed to this, since it would be annoying for any band to go down the Moonblood path of recording rehearsals.  At the very least Katharsis is recording rehearsal material with the intent of using the songs on an album and not just writing aimlessly.  Unfortunately, I don't own a copy of this demo tape and I am stuck discussing mp3's ripped at 192kbps.

If you thought the material on "666" sounded very good, then you are in for a real treat with the new Katharsis material.  This is certainly some of their strongest material ever written.  I feel like this is where Katharsis is starting to come into their own as writers.  The influences are certainly still there, but Katharsis is generating their own brand of music that sits somewhere between controlled composition and utter chaos.  Usually I don't like things that degenerate into pure chaos, but I certainly don't mind when a band skirts around the border.  I am greatly looking forward to what Katharsis has in store for us next.

Katharsis - 666
Sombre Records, 2000
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. 666
2. Thy Horror
3. Raped by Demons
4. The Black Grail
5. Lunar Castles
6. Nazarene - Into the Flame

This album was originally released by Sombre Records in 2000 on vinyl only.  Luckily when Katharsis started getting a larger following and with the success of "Kruzifixxion" Norma Evangelium Diaboli sought to re-master and re-release the debut Katharsis album.  I've never heard the original vinyl, but I'm fairly certain this re-release benefits heavily from the re-mastering.

With the intoxicating opening riff of the title track it is clear we are in store for something quite special from Katharsis.  I think with this release I can finally lock down what Katharsis is basically blending together.  While Darkthrone is an influence, and that's obvious with "Thy Horror" I don't feel that really exemplifies the bands roots.  I feel like Katharsis is blending a lot of Gorgoroth and Dødheimsgard together.  I really feel like there is a strong hint of Dødheimsgard in "The Black Grail", which is an aspect I truly love to hear.  A lot of the rest, especially that fast, raw, and vicious edge comes from the world of Gorgoroth.  The guitar tone is extremely thin, which is instrumental in generating that sort of chilling atmosphere.  I also mentioned this in my review for Moonblood's "Dusk Woerot" when they recorded on Katharsis' equipment.  I think this kind of tone really plays to Katharsis' advantage for the kind of Black Metal they are conjuring up for the listeners.  To be perfectly honest Katharsis really isn't adding anything new to the world of Black Metal with "666", but in the year 2000 they are really nailing that early Norwegian sound so perfectly.  Very few bands could really hit this as well as Katharsis do and even the greats they are influenced by no longer have this kind of sound.  "666" would be just a stepping stone for Katharsis, because with the inception of "Kruzifixxion" they would have truly developed their own sound and merit to the world of Black Metal.

"666" ends up being a spectacular listen.  It's like listening to the early bands, but with slightly upgraded production, which is something we didn't always get.  As Katharsis tries to write deeper material they've fallen to a less chaotic form, but it is so well done that I just love listening to it.  All the songs are well written and there isn't a boring moment in a single one.  Immerse yourself in the obscenely violent nature that is Katharsis and as they say in the booklet "listen in darkness and at maximum volume only..."

Katharsis/Nhaavah Split
Sombre Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

Katharsis: Dawn of a New Order
1. Raid of Destruction (The Ninth Gate)
2. I... am... Redeemer
Nhaavah: Determination, Detestation, Devastation
3. Determination of Life
4. Detestation of Humanity
5. Devastation of Church

Side Nhaavah: here
Side Katharsis:

Like a lot of the releases on Sombre Records I missed out on this as vinyl as well.  This release is actually fairly monumental for Katharsis because with this release Katharsis officially is exiting the truly raw world of demo tapes.  This release comes on 7" vinyl limited to 500 hand-numbered copies and I have #480.

Katharsis present two stunning tracks on this split and from their prior demo material I didn't really see this coming.  The demo material was so primal, so raw, and so chaotic, I wasn't expecting such a tempered and viciously structured sound.  The sound is certainly still on the raw end of the spectrum, but now you can really hear that chilling atmosphere Katharsis was trying to create in their untamed demos.  I certainly prefer having their art escalate to this level with production that is raw yet audible than to have the utter chaos of the demos.  I really hope this spells the future for Katharsis recordings and I am looking forward to them doing more material in this vein.

Katharsis - Kommando Metal
Goat Moon Worship Records, 2004/5?
Genre: Black Metal

The Red Eye of Wrath:
1. Evil Seed Call
2. The Master and Dormant Lord
3. Mord und Totschlag
4. Abhorrence till Extinction
5. Like Hail
6. Watchtowers of Darkness
7. Satan's Curse (Possessed Cover)
Endless Chaos:
8. Thornkings
9. Shine Beyonde
10. Ashes
11. Hellstorm
12. Extermination
Trident Trinity:
13. The Rising
14. Infernal
15. Murder in the Halls of Heaven
16. Awakening of Eternity
17. Armageddon/An Iron Flame
18. Lacerating the Angels
19. I.N.R.I.
20. Carpe Noctem

As you can see this doesn't belong here in Katharsis' discography, but since this bootleg CD presents all the Katharsis demos on a single album, I felt it is appropriate to place it here before we get into the studio recordings.  This is the third release from Goat Moon Worship Records and after releasing a couple Moonblood compilations they put out all the Katharsis demos.  I actually wish they would do something like this with Moonblood instead of taking tracks at random.

If you happened to miss out on any of the Katharsis demo material this CD is completely worth getting if you are curious as to how Katharsis progressed as a band.  It is definitely worth getting for the piece of history it represents even if it is unofficial.  The transfer quality actually came out pretty well.  I don't really have any complaints about the quality, it preserved the demo styled quality, but it remained audible.  That's one thing I do like about the Goat Moon Worship Releases so far, they actually make an effort to have the CD make sense volume wise.

Katharsis/Deathcult - Trident Trinity
Sombre Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Lust-Bestial Rise
2. Hell Wicked Slut
3. Storm of Magog
4. Havoc Sceptre
5. Demon of Darkness
6. Black Magic (Slayer Cover)
7. The Rising
8. Infernal
9. Murder in the Halls of Heaven
10. Awakening of Eternity
11. Armageddon/An Iron Flame
12. Lacerating the Angels
13. I.N.R.I.
14. Carpe Noctem

Side Deathcult: here
Side Katharsis:

This is the first split Katharsis has ever put out and it is with fellow Germans Deathcult.  I think I may have wound up with a bootleg version of this since it is unnumbered.  Apparently the tape was supposed to be limited to 100 copies, but when they ran out of numbers they started putting "promo" in the white box, but they certainly weren't promos.  My copy doesn't even have a white box, which means it was probably bootlegged.

I missed out on ever hearing Katharsis' "Rehearsal '99" tape, so I'm skipping right to this one.  Despite being released in 1999, this doesn't have much in the way of new material for me.  Most of this tape is a re-release of "Terror, Storm and Darkest Arts" with two extra songs.  I have a feeling "I.N.R.I." is really "Nazarene Into the Flame" from "Rehearsal '99" because it has the exact same track length... but I really have no idea.  The track is just some noise for almost two minutes.  The other new track "Carpe Noctem" is just an organ instrumental.  And while rather cool it just seems pretty tacked on at the end.

If you already have "Terror, Storm and Darkest Arts" the extra two tracks are not worth tracking this down. I'm not even going to bother posting a video of them below.  Definitely a pass.

Katharsis - The Red Eye of Wrath
Steeldawn Inc., 1998
Genre: Black Metal

1. Evil Seed Call
2. The Master and Dormant Lord
3. Mord und Totschlag
4. Abhorrence till Extinction
5. Like Hail
6. Watchtowers of Dark
7. Satan's Curse (Possessed Cover)

This is Katharsis' third demo and I think this is where Katharsis really start to show that they have something interesting to offer the world.  With "The Red Eye of Wrath" they really start to get their chaotic sound and structure under enough control for it to generally be enjoyable.  This tape was limited to 150 copies and I have copy #75.

"The Red Eye of Wrath" opens with a sort of noisy ambient styled intro in "Evil Seed Call" and gives way to blistering Black Metal.  The track is only a couple minutes long so it doesn't develop that well and I think this is a problem for Katharsis material.  They write riffs that are good enough to be played for more than a minute, but they just don't for some reason.  "The Master and Dormant Lord" starts off with some slow plodding music generating a dark atmosphere before transitioning into the more standard style of Black Metal.  This song is much longer in length and develops like a song normally would, but I don't think it had any stand out riffs.  The demo takes this format for the entire time, where there is a song that's a little over two minutes in length between the longer songs.  The annoying part with this format is the songs that are only a couple minutes have these great riffs that hook a listener in, listen to that opening riff in "Mord und Totschlag"!  The other weird part with these short songs is they always seem to include some strange noise into them in place of something like a bridge between parts.  In "Mord und Totschlag" they solve this problem by having the guitars degenerate into nonsense and then run a chainsaw.  Granted it actually sounds perfect for that chainsaw style of Black Metal Katharsis are playing!  The best song of the normal full lengths is probably "Watchtowers of Darkness".  It creates such a dark atmosphere and is perfect for the Katharsis sound.  They close this demo out with a cover from Possessed and it sounds extremely good.  They made it even more Black Metal than the original and the cover fits very well into Katharsis' raw and vicious sound.  They actually don't do the entire song and they speed it up so much that Katharsis is done in about half the time of the original track.

The production on this demo is a lot better than the others.  Everything seems to be mixed better and no instruments begin to overwhelm any of the others.  The vocals are very well put into the music.  Even though they are very general for Black Metal, they fit into the Katharsis tone extremely well.

In the end this is a pretty good demo.  I really like the direction Katharsis is trending towards and I know they will be creating incredible music in the future.  For me I think they started developing their modern style on "The Red Eye of Wrath" so this is a transitional demo for them.  It wouldn't be long now before Katharsis would get more recognition and start affecting the scene a lot more!

Since "Watchtowers of Darkness" was later re-recorded in the studio and released on the split with Moonblood... I will share "Like Hail"!!

Katharsis - IntoEndlessChaos
Chanteloup Creations, 1997
Genre: Black Metal

1. Thornkings
2. Shine Beyonde
3. Ashes
4. Hellstorm
5. Extermination

This is Katharsis’ second demo limited to 100 copies and I managed to get #19.  If you were into the first demo, then “IntoEndlessChaos” will give you more of the Katharsis fix you were looking for.  Things have improved a little bit, but not by a large margin, which is probably why this band still hasn’t been picked up by a larger label.  It would take Katharsis a few demos in order to get noticed in that respect.  For now Chanteloup Creations is releasing this demo tape and that label is legendary for releasing some very early material for influential bands.

“IntoEndlessChaos” begins with chaos, almost literally.  The drums are just blasting away while the guitar does who knows what.  None of the instruments are even remotely working together.  This goes on for about a minute until the true form of “Thornkings” can rear its ugly head.  I am happy to report that the actual song has a lot more structure and isn’t just a mess of poorly produced chaos.  I don’t think anything has really changed in the writing department for Katharsis, everything is written in the traditional very old vein, but I think things are a lot faster.  Katharsis are at least operating when really fast blast beating made more sense with Black Metal.  The overall atmosphere Katharsis manage to put forth is actually some extremely cold sounding Black Metal.  It feels minimalistic yet vicious and ugly all at once.  I’m not sure there are many bands that have managed to pull this off as well as Katharsis, but I think other reviewers are correct that Katharsis is not revolutionizing the scene.  Be that as it may, they are doing something I like and for me “Into Endless Chaos” is where Katharsis started to garner enough structure to catch my attention.  Personally, I think Katharsis should continue with relatively raw production, but it can certainly be improved upon.  I think making that change to their sound would give Katharsis a better edge in the world.

The production is at least a little better than the prior demo.  I can hear everything a lot more clearly.  It’s still extremely poor production by general standards, but this is an old demo recording, so we know what we’re getting.  I am just happy with the mix overall, since nothing is completely overwhelming.  The vocals can overtake things at times, but it is not so loud that it drowns out all the other instruments.

Chanteloup put together a somewhat decent booklet.  It’s really just a folded full page of paper into six panels.  It’s only printed on one side though.  In here you get all the lyrics and a band photo.  The font they used for the lyrics and other typography was a pretty poor idea and makes a lot of things somewhat illegible.  Next to the band photo we find contact information, a thanks list and a statement about Black Metal: “Katharsis strongly disdains any form of so-called ‘sophisticated’ or ‘political’ Black Metal.  Misanthropy towards everyone!”  I sort of agree with this statement.  I think I can find some level of appreciation for more sophisticated forms of Black Metal, but I would have to see examples of what Katharsis means by “sophisticated”.  I fully agree with their anti-political stance.  That stuff doesn’t belong in Black Metal.  Black Metal is not a political movement, it never has been nor should it be!

In the end “Into Endless Chaos” is definitely a collector’s piece for die hard Katharsis fans.  I wouldn’t recommend this for starting off their discography, but I think this is where Katharsis started to show a lot more promise.  They sort of generate this cold, yet somewhat messy atmosphere on this demo.  I just want them to clean it up a little bit more, because I think that will give us a much colder and wonderful experience.

Katharsis - Terror, Storm and Darkest Arts
Self-Released, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Rising
2. Infernal
3. Murder in the Halls of Heaven
4. Awakening of Eternity
5. Armageddon
6. An Iron Flame
7. Lacerating the Angels

Like many people I didn't even hear about Katharsis until “Kruzifixxion” was released. However, upon hearing that album I sought out everything I physically could from Katharsis, I seriously needed to hear more of this strange yet incredible band. Luckily I was able to obtain just about all their demo material on the original cassettes (at least I assume these are). So here begins the world of Katharsis.

Katharsis introduced themselves to the world with “Terror, Storm and Darkest Arts” and to be perfectly honest, I can see why no one picked up the band. At first glance it is extremely hard to see through the noise to what Katharsis is actually creating. It’s a little more obvious by the time we get to “666”, but during their demo forays things are almost too harsh to bear. While one should never expect great production from a demo recording, I also don’t really expect nearly pure noise and I think Katharsis falls under this category at times. This was recorded at Fortress Dragonclaw, which I assume is someone's four-track or basement studio. So, the production doesn't come as much of a surprise. Unfortunately, the only reason this actually happens is because the vocals are so high in the mix and the guitars are far too low in the mix. I don't know why this is because when you do get to hear the guitar work you can easily see that Katharsis has some good things going on! “Infernal” simply sounds awesome creating a better balance between the harsh recording quality and the viciousness with which they play. The recording quality does make this almost impossible to review the music, so I can’t say much more about that.

It is pretty difficult dealing with old demos. Tapes could have been damaged over time. Your copy might be a copy of a copy, yet have an original booklet. Something could have gone wrong in any copying process. The tape format is just outright spotty, so I review this based on the copy I have with the fear that this may not be what other people’s copies might sound like. I've listened to clips over what others have uploaded to the internet and I think my assessment of the production stands.

In the end “Terror, Storm and Darkest Arts” is only for the craziest of Katharsis fans or the biggest of collectors like myself. If you're into this kind of stuff I definitely recommend checking out the origins and seeing the stages Katharsis went through to find their rather unique sound. I feel like their goal was to start with a total mess and progressively increase production quality until you could hear just enough through the insanity and the chaos.

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