Review: Windthrow – Katabasis

Introduction

Band: Windthrow
Album: Katabasis
Origin: Södermanland, Sweden
Genre: Blackened heavy metal
Label: Independent

Straight out of Sweden, Windthrow unleashed their sophomore album, “Katabasis,” on December 8th, following their 2019 debut, “Treacherous Beckonings.” Steering the ship as the sole composer and artist is Robin Pettersson, the creative powerhouse behind Windthrow’s music. While evolving their sound since the debut, the hallmark of their music remains the stunning guitar craftsmanship. Identifying as blackened heavy metal, their music resonatsd with melodic black metal akin to Sacramentum and Dark Funeral, as well as the galloping riffs and guitar solos of Iron maiden. For those who relish the guitar work and style of classical heavy metal, with an extreme, blackened edge to it, “Katabasis” is an album worth diving into.

Katabasis

Derived from ancient Greek, “Katabasis” directly translates to “a descent” or “a journey downward.” In literary context, it often implies a voyage to the underworld – a journey towards the dark and gloomy “Stygian Halls”, featured as the second track on the record. The album encompasses seven tracks, clocking in at 41 minutes and 10 seconds.  

The album unravels with an acoustic prelude, delicately intertwining harmonizing guitars that set a compelling tone, sparking curiosity about the journey ahead. However, the second track, “Stygian Halls,” punches you in the gut with relentless blast beats and tremolo riffs, immediately grabbing my attention. Amidst the compelling melodic black metal tapestry, which was already enjoyable, it was at the 1:27 mark that the album took an exhilarating turn. The galloping riffs reminiscent of Iron Maiden surged forth, accompanied by an amazing guitar solo left me in awe.

Tracklist
  1. The Mountains Beyond
  2. Stygian Halls
  3. Thunraz
  4. Rid I Natt!
  5. Storm
  6. New Light
  7. Katabasis

Following the trajectory set by “Stygian Halls,” Windthrow showcases remarkable guitar prowess, highlighting melodic and captivating riffs while delivering fittingly raspy black metal vocals evocative of the underworld. Culminating the journey, the album concludes with the title track – a riveting composition filled with infectious riffs surely resulting in headbanging. It’s a fittingly robust conclusion to a consistently solid album.

Conclusion

Windthrow managed to merge classical elements from both melodic black metal and heavy metal, carving out a distinctive sound that’s truly captivating. Among the standout moments are the galloping riffs showcased in “Stygian Halls” and the exquisite melodic passage, crowned by an incredible solo that kicks in at the 3:55 mark of the title track. This powerful half-minute segment not only showcases Windthrow’s guitar mastery but also serves as a stellar conclusion to the album. Overall, it’s a solid release well worth diving into.

Listen to the album yourself on the YouTube link below!

I rate it 7/10

YouTube player

Thoughts?

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