CATACOMB “Back to Unknown Kadath”

By Dr. Abner Mality

30 years after its debut, CATACOMB return to their masterpiece EP “In the Maze of Kadath” to re-record it for a new millenium. Back when this originally came out, death metal based on the works and mood of H.P, Lovecraft was still fresh and new, not the overdone cliché it is today. Now, everywhere you turn, there’s a new band named after one of the Old Ones or trying hard to sound like one. Is there room for CATACOMB in 2022?

Sure sounds like it to me. These four tracks take me back to an elder age of death metal, before dissonant noise, ultra-brutal slam and super-tech stuff ruled the roost. There is a certain elegance in the way these songs are constructed, with flowing riffs, interesting time changes and melodic guitar solos. The crushing crunch of old Swedish death metal forms the foundation of what CATACOMB does here, but it’s not another knock-off of that style. There are ghostly keys adding an eerie atmosphere to the songs and lots of shredding solos in the vein of James Murphy and Chuck Schuldiner on top of that crunch. The vocals are a kind of bestial inhaled growl that used to be more prevalent but is rare now.

All the songs have interest. “The Key” has an almost semi-classical, cinematic feel to it while “Hallucinated Mountains” throws a coffin full of killer riffs at you. “Time’s Lurker” is a bit more straightforward death metal while last cut “Nemesis” is almost berserk with its frantic time changes. It’s a cool stew of MORBID ANGEL, NOCTURNUS, and old Swedish death metal that CATACOMB have made their own. I’m not often a fan of re-recorded works of the past, but this one I recommend.