World Terror Committee
The 2012 debut of Norwegian black metal band Tortorum kept me rather enchanted, and the return of the band this year with their sophomore full length Katabasis was certainly a welcome surprise, with the opportunity to experience the growth that the band has had in the span of two years.
Album opener Descensus already shows fans of the band the evolution of the band, with it being a neoclassical-inspired piano introductory piece, setting up the haunting and rather hostile mood for the rest of the album to come. As soon as the first cold and bleak riffs of The Great Apprentice appears, one instinctively knows what one is into. The melodies that are unleashed by guitarists Skyggen and Specter easily display the influences that early second wave black metal bands have had on them, with the riffs reminding one of the works of Mayhem or Darkthrone with that air of desolation that is evoked through their guitar work. The whole feeling of chaos is contributed by the vocals of Barghest, who goes from tortured shrieks to demented screams and laughter, sending chills down the listener’s back.
Compared to their previous offering on Extinctionist, while the material on Katabasis are somewhat slower, the band more than makes up for this in the atmosphere that is conjured throughout. Furthermore, the excellent production quality on Katabasis gives the album a nice ring, fitting to the atmospheric route that the band seems to be heading towards. There also seems to be an increased emphasis on the melodic side of Tortorum, with moments such as the intro of In Nameless NonBeing and the overall mood that is conjured by the band being rather reminiscent of Dissection‘s material.
Katabasis is overall an excellent album, and the balance between the aggression, the ritualism and the melody easily makes Tortorum‘s direction on this album one that Dissection would have probably headed towards, and one that Watain should be releasing instead of the mediocrity that is The Wild Hunt.