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Review: Catholicon - Of Ages Past
Of Ages Past

Label: UW Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 68:06
Tracks: 12
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: May 24, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.6/5 (72%) (10 Votes)

Last album for Catholicon, and they leave on a high note. This CD comes with a DVD-ROM loaded with mp3s of demos and other recordings never released before. While I haven't checked all the content on that DVD-ROM, the booklet claims 24 hours of material, so it's a lot of goodies for die hard fans. This review only covers the actual album. My copy of the album includes a 12th track that didn't make it on the final product, and apparently only 100 copies of this version of the album exist. The track is named "Thanatopsis". It's not as much a song as nearly 7 minutes of narration with acoustic guitar and various nature sounds. The last couple of minutes are just the sound of water on a beach (something like that.) I wouldn't call it essential.

Even though I had seen the name Catholicon here and there over the past few years, I never got around to checking them out, so this is all new to me. Their brand of Black Metal doesn't remind me of any other band I've heard before. It's pretty dark and gloomy, sometimes sounding like a horror movie soundtrack, Things often get a little messy – for example "Lament Configuration" sounds like the drums and guitars aren't really hearing each other and it's a bit of a mindfuck, but somehow it works, augmented by the "gnarling-meet-the-Chipmunks" vocals that are quite distinctive. The vocals are something I have a bit of difficulty with on this release – a bit too "Chipmunk-ish" for my taste, though they fit the music rather well and sound quite demented at times.

I can't say the music is all that special – save for its messy nature – but where Of Ages Past shines is in the atmosphere. It's heavy as fuck, dark, mysterious, kind of filthy, and mix a bit of horror. Thrown in those annoying but effective vocals, put all that stuff in a blender, and you've got more than one hour of pretty sick stuff.

Quite different from most Black Metal I've heard, Of Ages Past is an interesting listen even though it has its annoyances. Fans of the band who haven't grabbed this yet should do so and take some vacation time to go through that bonus DVD-ROM. ;)

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