Album Premiere: Katharos – Of Lineages Long Forgotten

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Like a band of Uruk-Hai roaring their way out of Isengard, Sweden’s Katharos is here with a new symphonic black metal LP that is pure ruthlessness. Of Lineages Long Forgotten fittingly begins with the sound of marching and, like a self-possessed army sweeping over the landscape, leaves no blade of grass unbent. The record is a maximalist study in black metal without mercy.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m seldom a fan of any symphonic metal. If it’s going to have strings, let it be Schönberg or Stravinsky; spare me the Wagnerian synthscapes and Kiss-like corpse paint of acts like Dimmu Borgir, please and thank you. For Katharos, however, the sweeping symphonic arrangements serve more like a plate serves a finely crafted meal—it’s a backdrop for the main thing that unites each musical element and contextualizes the whole.

On tracks such as “Lay Yersinian Siege,” the strings serve as both preamble and throughline. Like tapestries in the wall of a castle under siege, they lend grandeur to the bleakness, giving these martial tracks a sort of historicity that takes them beyond black metal dogma.

The title track represents the album’s ferocity well. With barreling blasts, harrowing vocals, and that added lushness from the strings, it is medieval in intent but baroque in execution. Keyboard orchestras rear up in the background while the four-piece wreaks their devastation. Says the band of their second full-length:

We are very proud of every aspect of this album, from the compositions and arrangements to its execution. The production sets the music in its right aural space, granting that raw and somber atmosphere we envisioned while writing the music. Our feeling is that this album lays the foundation for our future endeavors. Hope you enjoy it.

Behold the full might of Katharos below. Of Lineages Long Forgotten will be available this Friday via Willowtip.

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