Review Summary: Daring, original, and wholly ambitious.
is quite possibly one of the darkest, most brooding, and cinematic musical experiences I have ever had. A strange thought for sure, considering the phrase cinematic
is typically reserved for, well, cinema. Regardless, the sweeping arrangements filled with solemnity and poise do a lot in the way of painting some vivid mental images, making Megrim
, at times, feel like a bold piece of film.
This is due largely in part to Kattoo’s flair for the dramatic, as Megrim
is in no short supply of drama. At times it’s boisterous, as deafening brass and heavy string usage seem conducive to a soundtrack for storming Mordor, or taking down an imperial fleet in some sort of epic space opera. However, the proceeding track may feel haunting and mellow, opening up to creepier sections that would seem fitting for a suspenseful horror film. It’s really neat how these correlations can be made, and it speaks volumes of Kattoo’s ability to create vivid imagery from mere song. The cinematic qualities are the de facto reason to pick up the album, as there really isn't much else like it.
The man behind Kattoo manages to do all of this all on his lonesome, as every facet of Kattoo is handled by one man, Volker Kahl. Perhaps this is the secret to Megrim
’s success, as the intense attention to every minute detail was made possible by the fierce scrutiny of an ambitious solo musician. Yet it isn’t just the attention to detail that makes the album a success, but rather, the wholly interesting method of creating it. Megrim
is weird; something along the lines of half electronica half bombastic post-rock/neo-classical. Yet in this utter strangeness lies the appeal. The not so subtle electronics and beats can easily segue into a sorrowful and meandering string section, with brassy flourishes every step of the way. It is fresh, exhilarating, and completely unique, with Kattoo saturating the whole affair with an intense amount of atmosphere. A lot of time and passion went into this album, and that is made clear by the sheer excellence displayed.
Yet for all of its intrinsic charms, Megrim
deftly averts perfection. Although there is a wealth of fantastic material, the album features a surprising amount of filler. With twenty tracks, this is to be expected, as the album is practically filled to the brim. Because of this, things also to appear to be a little disorganized,
with the cohesiveness of the entire affair reaching levels of sheer cluster-fu
ckery. There is nothing unifying the tracks, with each song being a standalone piece, rather than being part of a whole.
Regardless, the album is fascinating none the less, hosting a bevy of sights and sounds, and moods and emotions. While it is intensely original, the album isn’t solid enough to be considered truly groundbreaking. However, if you can forgive the mess that Megrim
can at times be, then you can surely accept the genius it almost always is.