By Dr. Abner Mality

Well, this retro 70’s stuff isn’t going away any time too soon. Katla is a new band in that vein hailing from Finland, where there has always been a strong tradition of psychedelic and prog rock. 

To get this out of the way early, these guys have the most ridiculous band photo I’ve seen in a long, long time. You really have to see it to believe it. As far as the music goes, the opening cut “Horsehead” is a very raw and hard-charging piece of retro rock. The constant whooping space noises give it a strong Hawkwind feel. I really enjoyed the song! But that’s the high point of the album.

When the band sticks to these propulsive, bluesy jams, they are at their best. The last song “A Black Slimy Smooth Tongue-shaped Form” (!) brings back the power and energy of “Horsehead” but what’s in between is really variable to say the least. “Endless Journey” is more like jangly 60’s psych, with the female vocalist sounding sharp and lovely in the vein of many 70’s influenced rockers. The guitarist can jam like nobody’s business when he puts his mind to it and the drumming has the jazzy, live feel of Hendrix and The Doors. The title track is quite laid back and mellow but still manages to jam.

Later in the album, things come to a shrieking halt with plodding, monotonous rockers like “I’m Your Queen” and “Illusions”. The energy is gone and even the vocals drop into very average and uninspired realms. The song “Collision” is downright awful and has little resemblance to the cranking “Horsehead” which started things off. 
“Embryo” started with a bang but fizzled rather badly before staging a slight comeback. There’s power here, but not enough to raise Katla to where they could be.