Friday, May 11, 2012

Katana-Storms Of War

Anyone acquainted with the current metal trends should know that that Sweden tops off many other rivals when it comes to producing the best material, and recently the great tide of Swedeath monsters have also been boasted by an additional force of traditional heavy metal bands, In Solitude, Portrait, Steelwing and Trial to be some of them. With so many bands forming an thick blockade, it would be naturally a hard task to surpass the quality of all the other bands, but Katana seems like a band that shows promise. I can't really scoff at the waves of traditional heavy metallers, even though they come in abundance and repetition is inevitable in each one of these bands, but lots of bands have tasty and fresh sound to them, rendering all the doppelganging almost useless. Katana is one of these bands. I haven't collided with their debut before, and I enjoy the more traditional, somber side of heavy metal more than this style, but Katana still manages to cut through your flesh.

Just the cover art, and the band name tells what Katana is all about. Samurai, Asian tales and wars and of course, the decisive slash of the katana. In each song, the band is obviously telling tales, and the story progresses thus gradually comes to a conclusion as the song ends. The stories are a good way to keep the listener entertained, so that he/she can swiftly channel between classic NWOBHM galloping chord sequences and soaring vocals as well as some classy shredding solos that never fail to garnish the music. I love that there's always something spiky, something dynamic around the corner. The riffs are composed using simple aesthetics, but they display substantial amount of groove and catchiness and they're hard-hitting effect is also backed up by the force of the vocals. The vocals principally act as a guider, a narrator to tell the tales picked up from the the seven corners of earth, but at the same time, they're a mighty force of their own, an ear-shattering experience once they're set to their max, and although I've heard many heavy and power metal singers that soar on top of their lungs and excel in epic, melodic moments, vocalist Johan Bernspang really stands out for some unknown reason. Naturally, the riffs have a hint of technicality even though it's nothing mind blowing, and headbang-friendly speed/heavy metal tremolo pickings pop up every once in a while, adding a refreshing ferocity to the music.

I don't know whether I can appreciate this form of traditional heavy metal to the fullest, but Katana definitely did a fine job, and many songs have a subtle diversity to them, giving the album color and aroma in a bountiful measure. For example, ''Wrath Of The Emerald Witch'' is one ridiculously catchy track in particular, having both versatile riffs and having an extremely memorable verse-chorus structure that even mainstream people can get a hang of easily, ''Khubilai Khan'' offers a more melodic sound with more epic moments rather than striking moments and I just can seem to stop listening to the vigorous bursts coming from the group vocal attacks on ''City On The Edge Of Forever'', a stimulating experience. Many people are probably engulfing themselves in the vast majority of Swedish death metal ghouls, or perhaps other heavy metal bands coming from Sweden, but heed my words, because Katana is a band that ought to be contemplated with. ''Storms Of War'' is a good album, and I hope Katana can conjure up even better material for the upcoming album, so that the katana's next blow will be more decisive, more deadly.

Wrath Of The Emerald Witch
Khubilai Khan
City On The Edge Of Forever

Rating: 84%

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