KATHAROS XIII - Palindrome

Katharos XIII - Palindrome

5 songs
57:39 minutes
***** ****
Loud Rage


Released on a label where we usually get all kinds of extreme black and death metal, Palindrome is the third album by Romanian band Katharos XIII. Their fifteen-minute-long pre-release single Caloian Voices a few weeks earlier showed that this quintet takes a special place in their labelís roster. As a matter of fact, the band is oscillating in slow motion between gloomy doom metal parts and sensual dark jazz excursions, enriched by all kinds of other influences, from post rock over spooky elements to psychedelia.

The five songs on Palindrome are apart from the eight-minute short opener Vidma all over ten minutes long. If you feel like me that lately too many funeral doom metal bands have just extended their songs by just constantly and often boringly repeating the same patterns, then feel relieved! Katharos XIII have long songs, and they cherish every moment they play, and still they are brimming with tons of ideas and delicate details. To make it all even more enjoyable, the album comes with a top-notch production that gives every band member a good place in the mix, with all of the musicians standing out in their own way. F. is in charge of the guitars and keyboards and also procures the harsh vocals. His biggest asset is how he comes across as the band leader that keeps it all together. Manuela Marchiís vocals are ethereal yet firm and neither need to scream nor try to impersonate an opera singer. Instead there is a certain ethnic quality to her performance that perfectly conveys the cold winters of Eastern Europe. Saxophonist Alex Iovan surely must have a jazz background, and his contributions are an indispensable and wonderful part to the bandís sound. Hanos-Puskai Pťter on the bass guitar often surprises with little solo moments that might remind of some of the things that Cynic did, but I would not be astonished to learn that he is also a jazz musician. Drummer Sabat finally keeps it all afloat with a rhythmic work that is much more varied that we usually get from doom bands.

I wonít go into the details of each and every song, because the hour-long Palindrome is best listened to in one go, preferably in a dark room to help emphasise the atmosphere. Katharos XIII invoke the dark jazz solemnity of bands like Bohren und der Club of Gore and The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and add doom metal and psychedelic ethno sounds to set themselves apart from their influences. Palindrome is always a great album that at times shines with tremendous genius. The bandís take on dark doom jazz seems rather unprecedented and shows what true eclecticism in metal has to sound like.

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