Friday, January 4, 2013


Catamenia - Halls of Frozen North
Massacre Records, 1998
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dreams of Winterland
2. Into Infernal
3. Freezing Winds of North
4. Enchanting Woods
5. Halls of Frozen North
6. Forest Enthroned
7. Awake in Dark
8. Song of the Nightbird
9. Icy Tears of Eternity
10. Burning Aura
11. Child of Sunset
12. Land of Autumn Winds
13. Pimeä Yö
14. Outro

Catamenia is a band in 2006 seeming to gain quite a following so I decided to buy their entire discography to see what all the fuss was about.  However, I will review this taking into consideration the year it was released.  I knew vaguely what to expect on the later releases, but I didn’t know what was coming on “Halls of Frozen North,” and I like to have complete reviews so that we take into consideration all albums.

“Halls of Frozen North” is somewhat deceitful when you put it on because “Dreams of Winterland” opens with a wonderful acoustic passage making you think this will be some interesting acoustic driven Black Metal, maybe akin to Old Man’s Child’s “Born of the Flickering.”  However, shortly into the acoustic intro the listener is assaulted with nothing less than the most blatant Dimmu Borgir worship.  For the most part “Halls of Frozen North” is “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” re-recorded in Finland.  The vocalist even sounds almost like a copy-cat of Shagrath to the point where it’s almost shameful.  There are parts where Catamenia makes the best of the situation because instead of being heavily laden on the keyboards they rely more on the acoustic guitar work, which for me is much more preferable.  When it comes to Symphonic Black Metal there are few bands that I enjoy that drown their sound in keyboards, Dimmu Borgir is one of the bands I do not enjoy that does this.  So to hear Catamenia essentially take all their inspiration from Dimmu Borgir was not a winning statement in my book.  Naturally depending on the listener, you’ll either love or hate this album and all of this comes from your standpoint on Dimmu Borgir when it comes to judging this album.  However, it naturally will lose a lot of points for the sheer unoriginality factor.  Do not mistake me, the music is well arranged and expertly played for Melodic Black Metal, which is what this album mostly is.  They throw in some symphonic elements here and there, but they don’t drown their sound in it so I would say, from my perspective, that they are merely a Melodic Black Metal band for this album.  If, on later releases, they overwhelm the listener with keyboard laden work they will easily make the jump to Symphonic and they have the guitar arrangement backing to do it too.

There were songs on here that I did enjoy on the album, but they were too few to jump out and really stick with you.  I absolutely highly recommend this to people that enjoy Dimmu Borgir, Symphonic or Melodic Black Metal in general because I think you will find quite a gem in Catamenia.  Although, for me, this album was a miss.  We’ll see if they can learn to emphasize their unique capabilities in future releases, but for now, at their starting point there is, frankly, nothing new to behold here.

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