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Review: Katana Cartel - The Sacred Oath
Katana Cartel
The Sacred Oath

Label: Independent
Year released: 2021
Duration: 46:26
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: July 5, 2021
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
Readers Rating
The Sacred Oath

Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (2 Votes)

Katana Cartel surprised me a bit. The last couple of years have been dominated by Black and Death Metal, so a Traditional Metal album comes as a bit of a welcome respite every now and again. I should clarify a bit.... A GOOD Traditional Metal album.

The band hails from Melbourne, Australia, and were officially formed in 2012. Even though it has been nine years since they formed, this is their debut album. I always get a bit nervous when I see a band has been around for a long period of time and are just now releasing their debut album. When this happens, it usually falls into two possibilities. First one is the band is just terrible and don't realize it. The second is the band is actually good but just haven't had that "break". Sometimes it is actually better to be lucky than good. I can safely say that Katana Cartel falls into the second category.

Traditional Heavy Metal is the genre I would place them in, but they have a little more going on than that. The riffing is at times heavier than you would expect. Almost drifting into Thrash Metal occasionally. This adds a bit of aggression and makes the album more memorable. My personal preference is I wish they would do this more often as they are actually very good at it. The vocals are clean, but also have a bit of aggression to them when needed in those moments that the guitars slide into the thrashier moments. The production is also worthy of note considering this is a self-produced album. The quality of the recording is excellent, with every instrument being clearly audible and never fading into the background. Some full professionally produced albums could take some notes from this one. The only negatives I have is that I would like a bit more variety in the song writing as sometimes the structures can get a bit "samey". The album really shines when they lean into that heavier sound. Hopefully, they go that direction in the future. The final two tracks really showcase this and are my favorite tracks on the album, even though "Judge Shredd" ends with a bit of whimper instead of an explosion like I was expecting.

Overall, a very enjoyable album that showcases a band with a lot of promise. Recommended.

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