Album: Dreams of Dying Remedies – EP
Humanity is a lot of things—it’s both grace and gore, woven together in a dialectic quilt; violence, peace, visceral hate and love, all struggling against one another in a strive to define the true identity of what it is to be human.
But it’s a struggle as moot as it is vain and tedious. What humanity really is—at the core of its being—is an elegant, prolonged downward spiral.
This spiral is best defined by the dread, despair and pure heaviness captured by blackened deathcore aggressors Katabasis—whose name stems from an ancient Greek word meaning to descend—and with their debut effort Dreams of Dying Remedies, descend the listener shall. Trudging downward into a bleak pit formed by misery and anguish clashed head-on with hellish heaviness, Katabasis crush the listener’s soul with a wraught iron hammer. Trading blows between riffs and relentless breakdowns, refusing to stop until the listener is flattened and lifeless, Dreams of Dying Remedies is raunchy and ruthless—as well as prodigally unique effort from a young and eager act.
Katabasis sound as though—if you’re judging strictly by name and the ominous nature of their social media presence—that they could be another mushy, tasteless death metal band, right? I’ll be honest, at first, I thought so too—but that’s a great example of why you shouldn’t judge a book (or band) by its cover (photo). Dreams of Dying Remedies is blistering and intense in a way that precious few artists these days are. Those of you who gave 2017’s debut EP by Californian deathcore act The Willow a shot—or those of you who are particularly fond of The Last Ten Seconds of Life’s Soulless Hymns—will certainly find plenty to love within the more –core driven aspects of Katabasis’ debut. However, there’s more, as percussionist Cyrus Patel doesn’t just thud and thump away with run-of-the-mill breakdowns and simplistic patterns. He sprinkles in intricate patterns and technically spectacular fills and runs, bringing a stark metallic and energetic presence to the band’s dynamic. Atop of that, bassist Jaw Newton rumbles ruthlessly over each skull-splitting pattern. This is evident on the lead track, “Scorched Home,” as it is on the barnburner “Holy Water.” Newton and Patel form a leveling, lurid and grim foundation for guitarists Blaythe Steuer and Zachary Walker to add boatloads of brutalizing aggression and razor-sharp riffing into the mix. Almost every song is chock full of immense fretwork from the duo—with “Holy Water” being a personal favorite, while songs like the epic “Dead Stars” and “Neurosis” see an excellent blend of straightforward aggression and melody in with their leads and grisly, gut-wrenching grooves. The group work excellently together to blend metallic song structure and technicality with melodic undertones and gut-splitting heaviness—coating it with a gritty, thick layer of blackened dust.
Katabasis’ crushing display of over-the-top power is brought to a head by the fearsome efforts of their ferocious frontman, Russ Rogers. Rogers’ voice hits lows grisly enough to shake the earth, yet dominates with a rough, gruff and gritty mid-range yell that stays constant throughout the frantically riffed intensity or the airy, ominous melodic moments. Songs like “Holy Water,” featuring a legendary vocalist (who really needs no introduction) sees Rogers working diligently, holding his own against the tremendous instrumentation and the equally terrifying vocal efforts he shares the track with (if you haven’t heard the single yet, I don’t want to ruin the surprise). The closing “Neurosis” sees a more gloomy and reflective side to Rogers during its more solemn and dirging segments—segments which weave their way between a series of relentless breakdowns and skin-peeling riffs. Rogers might not be the next multi-million (okay, thousand) view vocal-cover guru to take over social media, but he combines a grim, daunting atmos with a mastery of an arsenal of styles to dominate the soundscape that defines Dreams of Dying Remedies.
Katabasis take ruthless, savage deathcore and add metallic and atmospheric elements that they pulverize into a fine powder, ignite and reduce to a blackened soot—only to sprinkle it delicately overtop their sinister, surreal breakdowns with scathing riffs. With elements of artists like The Last Ten Seconds of Life snuck in between a broad array of heavy music influences, and enough heaviness to cave your head in, Dreams of Dying Remedies is one record you should be dyingi to pick up.
For Fans Of: The Black Dahlia Murder, The Last Ten Seconds of Life, The Willow, I Declare War
By: Connor Welsh