Review by Jason Guest
Lisbon instrumentalists Katabatic ability to use the simple foundation of guitar, bass and drums to produce huge vistas that stretch beyond the horizon, deep into the imagination, and evoke the mysterious beyond the mundane and temporal is exceptional. The rich textures of Heavy Water are at once dark and potent, slow and penetrating, the shape-shifting tracks ever-evolving with a constant urge to advance beyond the confines of the interplay between the three instruments. The riffs are vast and expansive, powerfully charged, mighty and moving, their melodic and rhythmic development and their enormity ever-growing. Where there are vocals, they feature more as an instrument, a lyric-less mantra that deepens the human dimension, the intimately personal compounded with the external domains of astronomical magnitude. In terms of structure, the usual soft-loud-soft-loud approach or the track that continually grows until orgasmically exploding into a mélange of elation, despair, and glib satisfaction are thankfully foregone. Katabatic are too adept at their craft to rely on such clichéd and exhausted tactics.
Unlike the immediate and ephemeral infection that a catchy chorus presents, Heavy Water is contagious, a benevolent disease that worms its way under the skin and progressively subsumes the body with its eclectic and mysterious sonic depths. An impressive début, if the post rock explorations of bands such as Pelican, Germany’s Frames, or Russian Circles or Caspian are your thing, Katabatic deserve a place neat the top of your playlist. If not, then there’s no better place to start than Katabatic’s Heavy Water.
7.5 out of 10
- Light Hexagons
- Heavy Water