|Review: Kataxu - Roots Thunder|
Label: Resistance Records
Year released: 2000
Genre: NS Black Metal
Review online: March 19, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (10 Votes)
Kataxu are one of my favorite bands to hail from Poland, simply due to the fact that they manage to blend incredible black metal amid strong ambience with seemingly effortless ease. In 2005 they released their generally more popular 'Hunger of Elements' album on Supernal Music, but this to me is their classic release. Often hotly debated amongst fans whether to be a full length album or a demo, 'Roots Thunder' is undeniably the band's first album length foray to feature their instantly recognizable sound.
Beginning with a outer-worldly ambient introduction which floats softly from your speakers, equally enthralling as it is beautiful, it doesn't really prepare you entirely for what is to follow in the form of 'My Name from the Forest', featuring buzzing rapturous guitars fleeted by demo era Gehenna-like orchestral synthesizers and scathing raw vocals. Euphoric keyboards weave their way into the complex tapestries of the songs perfectly, managing to capture the rawness of the black metal elements, and further push them into new uncharted territories of unique abstract extremity. 'Roots Thunder' takes the listener on a sonic journey through vast, dark forests one moment, to skimming tops of snow-capped peaks the very next, stopping off over burning desolate war-fields along the way (in fact, 'War' is the eeriest track here, being an instrumental entirely arranged on synthesizer, featuring the crackling of a blazing fire and haunting melodies springing from the depths as punctuation to the incredible aura). Overall, there's a fantastical astral aura created in the ambient pieces amongst the black metal, which adds a remarkable depth on all levels.
I wouldn't point a black metal purist in the direction of Kataxu, as many would be off put by the extensive use of symphonic, electronic based atmospheres in the arrangements. But, for those who can appreciate the usage of such instrumentations in order to capture a truly vast soundscape, Kataxu are a distinctive gem, whose music never fails to invoke a positive response from each listen. As grizzly as they are spell-binding, Kataxu are well worth investigating further if this sounds up your blackened alley.
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