Catacombe – Kinetic …   Leave a comment

This Catacombe review marks the third review in a row from the Slow Burn stable of bands and this is the pick of the three not because its anything unique but because it’s so atmospherically beautiful. This is the kind of album bands like Pelican and Isis go for all the time and usually miss the mark but Catacombe have nailed it in more ways than one. Kinetic is almost kind of pretty but in a depressing way with mesmerizing melodies that ooze finesse and class without being pompous or complex. I will get the friendly warning out-of-the-way right now, this is an instrumental post-rock/metal album but it is unlike anything that has been released in the last couple of years. What is so entrancing is the way the songs build and entice you in through a hypnotic guitar sound and psychedelic yet haunting ambience. The band do crank up the heaviness at times and do have a good deal of fuzz but this is about atmosphere and this is an album that engages the listener totally.

The album begins with the excellent ‘Grundsatz’ that is a 2 minute introduction to the haunting and eerie vibe you are about to be treated to for the next 39 minutes. Its repetitive but it moves quickly into the stunning ‘Supernova’ and the even more incredible ‘Anna-Liisa.’ All up – these two songs account for over 14 minutes of psychedelic, progressive music that is nothing short of a total mind-warp. The pure emotion that is unleashed during these two pieces verge on being pure heart-breaking material but it is done in a way that very few bands throughout rock history have been able to produce. Yes had it at their peak and so did Mahavishnu Orchestra – it is almost a spiritual high or an emotional pull that sweeps you away on a cosmic musical journey. There is different counterpoints to the music like the instruments are engaged in conversation so vocals would only get in the way if they had them. Apparently they used to use a drum machine but have a human drummer now and that is a relief but still feel the desire to use samples, however these samples provide an eerie background to the songs so can’t complain there either.

The albums peak might just be an epic called ‘Memoirs’ which is constantly climbing in hypnotic ambience and energy. It is very progressive but also full of hooks that build to stunning crescendos only to fall back down again to haunted atmosphere and mesmerizing tension. It is beautifully arranged so you never notice the 10 minute-plus running time. ‘Cavalgada Epic’ however shows perfectly two sides to the band all in the one track. The first half is doom-laden and sludgy, the second half is progressive with an almost jazzy vibe. ‘Mockba’ keeps it heavy before the drums and bass both take lead roles. After their moment in the spotlight, it returns back to the heavy to close out the song. The last track is perhaps the worst, it is titled ‘Sequoia’ and is almost too light and cheerful for its own good. Maybe they just wanted some contrast at this late stage in the album but it sounds a bit out-of-place compared to the rest of the tunes which are fairly dark and chilling.

While atmospheric post metal is everywhere these days, there is not many bands that manage to release something as gorgeous as this and still sound heavy. Catacombe seem to have found a nice niche by making music that fits the post-rock tag but doesn’t follow any pre-concieved formula. It is also curious that the album seems epic in scale and yet only goes for 39 minutes, you could swear when listening to this that it is some monster piece of work. Out of the 7 songs, 6 are over 7 minutes in length but they seem to fly by in seconds due to the hypnotic nature of the songs. It is also unique that the album has no words but the songs seem to create a narrative anyway. I don’t normally go for this kind of album but I find this to be exceptionally good and a real surprise release for 2011 even though the album  was recorded in January/March 2010 at Soundvision Studios. Mastering was done by James Plotkin (Isis, Khanate, Pelican, Earth) who seems to have his hand in everything these days. I highly recommend you check this one out……8.5/10
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Catacombe @ MySpace
Slow Burn Records

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Posted April 13, 2011 by doommantia in Catacombe

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