Katechon – Man, God, Giant

a1967811851_10There’s something about the term “blackened death metal” that has a nails down the hood of a rusty truck effect on my spine. Maybe it’s the association I hold with those words and the mid-2000’s musical climate of Belphegor and Behemoth, but for whatever reason the term is marked in my head as vomit worthy. I bring this up because it’s the genre title that was continuously rattling in my head as I listened to Man, God, Giant. Thankfully, the black metal infused death that Katechon from Trondheim (no association with the Nidrosian scene) is putting forth on their debut bears no resemblance to a commercialized Napalm Records or Nuclear Blast excretion. There’s a really vicious streak to the sound of Katechon, an almost relentless assault of dissonant buzz-saw-to-flesh tremolo, Hades descending hammer on’s, and pulverizing trudges into places most of us would rather not think about. It’s this punchy, visceral attack that takes the potentially grating and gimmicky union of black and death and forges it into an integral whole that doesn’t tempt you to really call it either. That’s a good start, but something more than a simple “it works” is necessary to hook a discerning listener into any bands morbid trap. Does Katechon follow up on that solid foundation of gristle and bone with enough tainted meat to satisfy a ghoul that’s made his rounds through the graveyard more than once? Well… Yes and no.

I’ll start with what doesn’t work. There’s another limb present in Katechon’s sound I neglected to mention, and it’s an important one. It doesn’t take much google sorcery to excavate the origins of Katechon; a grindcore band with the odd name “Sexy Police”. You wouldn’t have to look that up to realize its presence here though (well, you would to discover that name…), as its very much at the forefront of most of the album. Many of the songs are driven forward by d-beat lashings and de facto hardcore riffs, giving an almost crusty air to Man, God, Giant as a whole. Listen to the, er, bouncy feeling intro to “Spring of Man” for an example of this. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it can lead bands into a trap of 3-4 note riffs in heard-this-before-never-want-to-here-it-again progressions and rhythms. Unfortunately, I do feel that is often the case on Man, God, Giant, which is a shame considering it has a nearly equal presence of captivating and truly creative riffwork. Beyond that, a more varied vocal approach would have been appreciated; the low-to-midrange growl is suitably venomous but ultimately one-dimensional enough to become irksome at its worst. The lyrics are simplistic and often feel more appropriate to a “core” rather than “metal” style. Rumbling along in the background, the bass is, well, it’s there, but the drummer provides a slightly more active performance with enough interesting fills to keep the blood pumping in these brief songs.

What does work here then? I’d draw your attention to the closer, “Beautiful Desolation”. This is the song that ensnared me into the world of Man, God, Giant in the first place, and it easily displays Katechon at their best. An initial, serrated riff lacerates your senses before a serpentine tremolo melody drips the blackest, most acrid poison imaginable into the wounds. A grinding riff smears the venom in when, very suddenly, an ethereal keyboard voice fills the song, backed by tension mounting drums, strummed guitars, and the bass playing out its own elegiac hymn. This explodes into the final moments of the album, guided by an eerie, sinuous, almost beautiful melody that claws its way into your veins to stay. It’s a moment that shows Katechon has a lot more potential than what is often apparent through the album as a whole. In that sense, Man, God, Giant is a solid debut, worth checking out and possibly buying, but I’ll be expecting greater things from this band next time around. -Jake

Nuclear War Now Productions

~ by jakemoran on July 17, 2013.

One Response to “Katechon – Man, God, Giant”

  1. Katechon has no relation to Sexy Police. At one time they shared some members, but other than that and being from the same town, there is no link whatsover.

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