Avichi – Catharsis Absolute

avichi.Forward thinking. That’s the phrase that came to mind a few minutes into Catharsis Absolute, third album from Avichi, the black metal creation of sole member Aamonael (also of ‘blackened sludge metal’ group Lord Mantis). From the warm-tone guitars to the murmured, monastic-style vocals that bookend the open-sore throatings, this Chicagoan has gifted those fans seeking a sophisticated take on the genre of misanthropic holocaust an album to grasp and dissect. Catharsis Absolute, while ‘absolutely’ (heh) black metal, has an energy all of its own and unabashed nods to a certain Norwegian murderer. You will hear Varg in Avichi’s under-guitar, ambient synth spellcasting (check the chorus of the enticing yet relentless ‘Voice of Intuition’, and the repeating, almost-drone opening minutes of ‘All Gods Fall’). You will hear the spoken-sung entreaties that fade out into hornet-swarm guitars. But you will also hear Aaemonael (aka Andrew Markuszewski) throw in ’80s New Wave synth in very sparse, acceptable amounts (yes it can be done), along with cleanly-sung doom/dirge vocals, and traditional (dare I say major?) chord changes hear and there that would be spurned by ‘orthodox’ black metal bands. Having worked on and off with (punching bag of the underground) Blake Judd of Nachtmystium, Markuszewski’s penchant for risk-taking doesn’t come as a surprise; what surprises is that Avichi can challenge the listener and remain restrained – meaning, Catharsis Absolute evokes interest without its songs coming across as the overbearing, ‘my music isn’t really black metal’ whines of lesser-album dreck we hear too often/is so populated with ‘other styles’ it subsides into convoluted forgetfulness.
Okay, off the soapbox now.
As this album comes to a close, we are given an eight-minute, piano-only denouement (perfectly composed and the furthest thing from a fast-forwarded, filler outro) that expands upon the foreshadowing of the album’s opener ‘Repercussion’. Avichi/Andrew is telling you here, and over the course of Catharsis Absolute, that this is an intricate construction from an artist who will continue to push himself, while never forgetting to pause and look back with appreciation. Good for him. -Jim

Profound Lore

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~ by cliftonium on January 22, 2014.

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