Throne of Katarsis – Helvete – Det Iskalde Mørket (Candlelight Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Don’t know about you, but seasonal depression isn’t made any easier with albums like this. The snow, the ice, the wind, the horror…one can only imagine with our friends in Scandinavia have to endure (methinks it’s not all mid-winter sunshine and lollipops). That being said, Throne of Katarsis’ Helvete – Det Iskalde Mørket provides not a respite from Old Man Winter, but a window into total fucking darkness, something the band would surely coin in an interview.

A vast improvement from their rather ho-hum 2007 effort, An Eternal Dark HorizonHelvete – Det Iskalde Mørket carries forth a wealth of quality, humbling BM ideas and ideals that work in a variety of ways. Central to this notion is “The Darkest Path,” a cavernous, totally bleak number highlighted by one of the more uneasy note intervals heard in BM in recent memory. It steadily builds and grows, then wraps up in a mess of colliding cymbals and crashes. Quite the wop-bang.

Even of more value is the title track, perhaps an in-direct homage to Burzum’sHvis lyset tar Oss where a rolling pace is off-set by feverishly-strummed chords. Like its predecessor, the bottom drops, leaving only one of most dastardly BM riffs of the decade (starting at the 4:30 mark) to take hold. It’s utterly chilling.

Throne of Katharsis may not have perfected the cold, chilling necro bushwhack of their early Norwegian predecessors, but they have made quite the leap withHelvete – Det Iskalde Mørket. In fact, this one is better than you might think and for once, proves that sticking to the Norwegian BM playbook can actually work once and a while.

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