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Reviews
Katedra - Ugnikalnis
Wednesday, July 01 2009 @ 03:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: Jack The Ripper

Ugnikalnis

Artist: Katedra Lithuania

Title: Ugnikalnis

Label: Atra Musica Records Lithuania

Genre: Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal Progressive

Track Listing:

01 Kariai Pagonys
02 Angelai
03 Baimes Akys
04 Kareivis
05 Krachas
06 Prarastas Rojus
07 Instrumentalas
08 Budelis Grizta
09 Naturali Atra'n'ka
10 Ugnikalnis

The metal scene from Lithuania was unknown for the West for decades as most of the countries covered by the black shadow of the Iron curtain. Katedra now an illustrious band that accomplished 22 years of career, numerous presentations in European festivals and three previous albums is totally unknown here. For the first time we have the opportunity to know more about this scene and the great polished metal purity from the bands coming from there, we already had a glimpse of this character here at Heathen Harvest with the review of the impressive act Thundertale last year, now its the turn for this metal cult act, as it certainly is with their amalgam of succulent Thrash metal & Heavy metal with a retro scent that gets not comparison anywhere, not only in the contemporary scene but even in the old one.

Katedra was formed in Lithuania during the soviet dictatorship in 1986, they rapidly got wider recognition during the following years, participating in an ever increasing number of metal festivals locally, a tactic that allowed them to solidify a reputation and style that they fervently maintain up to this day. They originally debuted with the album “Mors ultima ratio” recorded in mid of the 80s but that unfortunately only saw the light of the day at the end of the decade due numerous problems of production. This album was a praised internationally and was sold very quickly locally, this aspect motivated the band even more to continue in their quest for Metal experimentation, bending their original Heavy metal/Power metal roots into a more progressive thrashy regime. By 1994 the band was already a cult in Lithuania, recognized by the government as a national icon. They halted for five years after that and re-started with a small number of presentations across the country, reaffirming their position as a classic thrash metal outfit with radical progressive inclinations. 2008 marks the transition for expansion, the release of “Ugnikalnis” and signing contract with the Lithuanian metal label Atra Musica Records. Now its time for the world to recognize on what they are made of!

The scent of Thrash metal classicism is breathed here from start to finish, delivering excellent energetic combos of rhythmic riffing and elegant break-necking hooks that will be a permanent additive for the listener to enjoy a Thrash metal version full of melodic progression that meanwhile preserve an undeniable touch of aggression and crudeness so unique from the early days. The strength combined with the technique constitutes the tour de force provided by Katedra to maintain the attention entirely focused in the album transition. Each track presents a rich compendium of detailed and elaborated guitar arrangements with devastating rhythmic riffs set to thrash till it bleed, a drum set that flamboyantly slips from hi-hat, double drum accelerations to versatile drumming that perfectly adhere to the complex guitar developments and continuous rhythmic changes. Katedra posses in some way the addictive complex hooks of Annihilator combined with the rough power from Over kill while the voice singing in Lithuanian contrasts with a potent mid range vocal set mildly rough and thoracic delivered in different tempos, which makes it fitting in an unusual manner the structure of the songs. This aspect conforms the true essence of this band and the ace that leads their imperishable luck. Their combative Thrash/Heavy metal conception constructed with indefatigable technical ability (guitar & drums especially), overly rhythmic progressions and different vocal delivery are truly original and above all really grabbing to listen to. Even though it is all the way retro-Thrash, it is completely fresh, redeeming the old spirit on how Thrash fury is without falling into clichés or using the complex guitar arrangements to perform a wanking show of technical ability. All the ability they posses, focuses directly into all the rhythmic artillery set destined to the listener’s ears, sending a mandatory message through his nervous system, Thrash it!

Amidst the core of rhythmic riffing a melodic structure is patent though, arpeggiated dirges are established between the guitar riffs and the harmonies while maintaining a solid rhythmic base that never disorient the listener, that way leaving the direction from each track assent in agile progressiveness without abrupt cuts. This particular characteristic is one of the things I really liked from this band, the fluency from its rhythmic transition conforming a whole body of sound that condenses an addictive addition of precise violence. There is a song that takes the chance to investigate and deepen the tactic described before. This is “Instrumentalas” that as its name indicates is an instrumental that shows the boundaries of their abilities, establishing a more complex guitar arrangements and additional melodic lines this time performing a duel between them with a very moved sonority.

“Ugnikalnis” is an excellent album, showing the Lithuanian band as a celebrated dignitary not only as a mature version of Thrash metal formation but as a brilliant exemplar of the unlimited possibilities to mix technique and power without weakening the final structure. Thumbs up!

     



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