World Without End

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Like all the bands on the French Norva Evangelicum Diaboli label (distributed in the U.S. by Southern Lord), Katharsis are from Europe and sound like it, full of progressive elements -- no, not prog rock. Unlike the other bands on this label -- Deathspell Omega, Funeral Mist, Antaeus -- Katharsis are a squalling, in-your-face furious black metal band whose insane, hyperspeed riffing and drumming all blur together under freaked-out angular guitar leads and a vocalist who can do the growl with the best of them, but who also shrieks, howls, wails, screams, and spits out his lyrics underneath sonic effects. The guitars buzz rather than howl, like a military assault on the senses. There is plenty of the maniacal old-school aggro in this stuff, but it's been channeled through a rather unique identity. If you need proof, simply listen to the 11-minute "Vvytchdance," with its noised-out chords and buzz-saw guitar blast that barely holds its own over the commando-style drumming as the track moves through more changes than a vampire has shape-shifts. This is vomit-from-the-eyeballs music, all gory intensity, merciless attack, and brain-numbing throb. The remarkable thing is that it moves from merely insane to "these-cats-should-be-chained-up" hyperwarp. The music feels like it's all sonic chaos, but somehow manages to stay on track. Then, check the 16-minute closing title track. You can't possibly imagine it; just dig the flipped-out psychedelic leads, truly scary-ass vocals, and the general black hole burn of the "musical" presentation, which is so far outside even black metal's confines that there may need to be a new genre term for it. This is messed up. While the sleeve recommends you listen in "darkness at maximum volume," if you do, you may never, ever come back. This is hate music with an entirely new dimension added: unhinged psychosis. Awesome.

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