Katalepsy - Gravenous Hour
Unique Leader Records
Technical Death Metal
11 songs (40'06")
Release year: 2016
Unique Leader Records
Reviewed by Alex

It is a bit ridiculous when people are invoking the name of Pussy Riot when talking about Russian heavy metal or even punk. In truth, Pussy Riot is nothing more than a political stunt masquerading for musical instruments torture. Sending a message to a current regime I'm all on board with, yet I wish it was done by a real metal band.

There is nothing pretend about Katalepsy though and should they have taken a political banner I'm sure the chairs would be shaking in the Kremlin. Alas, Katalepsy don't do politics and their lyrics are typical death metal, all sung in English too, with Igor's delivery covering the range from rough gurgle to nasty bark. Katalepsy vocals and their outstanding quality sound production may make them indistinguishable from some band hailing from Northeast US or somewhere in the heart of Netherlands, and judging just on the grounds of vocals and production it is difficult to point the band's roots. In fact, it feels that a conscientious effort has been made to elevate overall quality on Gravenous Hour to place Katalepsy, a Russian death metal juggernaut, onto an international map. Signing with Unique Leader, a verifiable and underrated name in death metal scene, is another step in the right direction.

The label will have nothing to be ashamed of for this release. Katalepsy deliver powerful, technically dizzying death metal located anywhere between the likes of Hate Eternal or Misery Index and the Dutch school of brutality. Katalepsy music is based around hard hitting flying staccato rhythms, which actually never sit still, become increasingly restless as songs unfold, and these rhythm shifts help Gravenous Hour not to become stale or fall in a rut. Not built for variety as a style, brutal death metal can be easy to tune out on the count of repetitiveness, but Katalepsy manages to stay engaging over the course of the album. Chaotic and melodic at the same time (The Long Bright Darkness, Monastery of Nothing), the music has a Kataklysm groove to it sometimes which can turn into a gut twisting slowdown (After Omega). The best songs (Blinded Sultan and Grave New World) are probably the most telling examples of Katalepsy's sharp attacks. Headbanging yet twisty (To the Lords of Nihil), the band also loves to dredge the bottom once in a while (Blinded Sultan), declaring a strong bass guitar presence from the intro In the Dark of Stars to the closing instrumental In the River of Red, and they throw in a solo once in a while, just because they are capable of playing them.

Brutal to the core, Gravenous Hour is a take-no-prisoners single-minded technically accomplished effort, which makes no bones what its purpose is, yet it is not a dumb slam by some who just learned how to downtune their guitars.

Killing Songs :
Blinded Sultan, Grave New World
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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