Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
Nicholas Thornbury and Brett Boland are a pair of heavyweights who’ve cut their teeth in the New England metal underground with their respective bands. In Vattnet Viskar, Thornbury helped shell out a punishing blackgaze blitz; on the opposite end of the spectrum, Boland’s melodic probings in Astronoid have yielded an accessible sound. With Thornbury on guitar and vocals and Boland on bass and drums, the duo as Kataan make heady, dystopian anthems that sound as catchy as they are scorched. By building upon their previous bands’ atmospheric leanings with diverse textures and indelible hooks, they find bliss in even the most hostile post-metal vistas.
Across their debut EP, Kataan’s secret weapon is their shoegaze-inspired wall of sound, a roar that’s both hypnotic and eardrum-busting. The effect is trance-inducing, even as you get swallowed whole by the cacophonous groundswell of shapeshifting riffs, demonic wails, and blastbeat pummel, but the dizzying rush and surge of hooks that Kataan thickly lays out is deceptively uplifting. A gander at the song titles and lyrics tells a different, and overtly bleak, story. Apocalyptic and disaffected themes are copious on “Abyss” and “Erase.” “So forsake all your gods/ Their light has grown dim/ Stoke the flames and burn this/ Burn this world to the ground,” howls Thornbury. With relentless forward momentum, Kataan’s debut whizzes by in an instant, but its monolithic bludgeon lingers for long after. A full-length record is something to look forward to while we await the coming apocalypse.