Catacomb (France)
In the Maze of Kadath


3.5
great

Review

by ffs USER (37 Reviews)
September 27th, 2017 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


The fact that music can be atmospheric is testament to just how fucked up our mutant ape brains really are. When we talk about atmosphere in music, we don’t mean that the music is windy or humid or that it has self contained pressure, what we mean is that the music somehow briefly illuminates an obscure reverie deep in the depths of our fevered unfulfillable monkey minds because we as a species will always crave something other than what is real. Music is the key that unlocks some kind of cool abstract realm of vibrant delusion within our putrid meat cores that speaks gently and lovingly to the most primal and crude aspects of our repugnant natures. Speaking of keys, Catacomb of France knew what the key to a good death metal release was, the key is Yog-Sothoth and Yog-Sothoth is the gate and he knows the gate for past and present are all one to Yog-Sothoth.

What I’m jabbering about here is that Catacomb released some of the most atmospheric death metal ever on their 1993 extended exaltation of H.P. Lovecraft’s writings In the Maze of Kadath. The listener will legitimately feel lost amongst the dynamic riff patterns, restrained by the grasping leads, trapped by the ethereal keyboards, and suffocated by the abyssal vocals present on this ode to the unknowable realms of Lovecraft’s work. The unsettling echoed jangle of piano that comprises introductory track "Enter the Castle of Great Entities" invites the listener into the grandiose horror, the voice-like keyboard intonations infusing a just sense of dread and building anticipation for the segue into "The Key"; a song where impetuous guitar riffs and leads coaxed by the ebb and swell of subtle keyboard voices quickly ascend into a blessing in the form of a luxuriant, frothing guitar solo from omnipotent Yog-Sothoth.

H.P. Lovecraft may have been so named, but few know that what he really loved was riffs. Whatever realm of ubiquitous blackness he now lurks has probably got some extremely good riffs, but because us unfortunate mortals are stuck here on purgatory piss planet Earth, we will have to make do with what riffs we can muster on our own. Catacomb recorded some incredibly good riffs on In the Maze..., and their ability to repeatedly evoke the same kind of dismal splendour intrinsic to Lovecraft’s writings in their own (riff) writing warrants sincere praise. There are more triumphant tremolo picked riffs than there are tentacles on C’thulu’s face, licks and leads more tempting than promises from Nyarlathotep, all tempered by crunchier mid-paced riffs that propel the songs along with tireless purpose like a flight in the arms of Nightgaunts. The aforementioned solo at the beginning of The Key is merely a prelude to the impressively emotive shred to be found throughout the short record, such as the forlorn licks towards the end of “Time’s Lurker” or the resplendent, frantic sweeping that surmounts the peak of “Hallucinated Mountains”.

While Catacomb carry out most of their worship of the elder gods through the guitars, the grotesque vocals do their part in adding a percussive animalistic aspect to the overall atmosphere and contrasting the ghostly keyboard intonations; standing out particularly in a rasp/growl duet segment at the end of "The Key". Unsurprisingly, directly quoting Lovecraft’s work makes for great death metal lyrics and "The Key"’s chorus lifts words straight out of The Dunwich Horror to reiterate just how beautiful and perfect Yog-Sothoth really is. While the piano introductions do outstay their welcome (there is one at the start of every single song on this EP), the chilling touch of the keys is applied with skill to accentuate the riffing and embellish the horrific atmosphere while meticulously circumventing cheese like someone who is lactose intolerant.

Lovecraft did not only write about dreamers, he wrote for dreamers too. The sublime realms he described have spawned countless more in music written by band after band influenced by his mythos, and Catacomb are just a few from a cult of a countless many inspired to depict the affecting atmospheres present in all his work. It's all just another example of the powerfully absurd imagination of our fleshy sapient brains.



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user ratings (22)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ffs
September 27th 2017


5418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i think technically the release im talking about here has different album art to that good cthulu one but i dont give a hoot

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2017


10175 Comments


This is just one of those reviews that doesn't really jive with me. Just the language, the presentation, etc. don't do much for me. Plus, with all the vibrant imagery you generate, it's difficult to comprehend why you've delegated it a 3.5 compared to a greater score.

Keyblade
September 27th 2017


28525 Comments


love a ffs rev. criminally slept on album

was literally about to jam this too lol

Astral Abortis
September 28th 2017


6745 Comments


Good band

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2017


57118 Comments


I'm always ready to pos an ffs review

hal1ax
September 28th 2017


14470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good alby

ffs
September 28th 2017


5418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5



This is just one of those reviews that doesn't really jive with me. Just the language, the presentation, etc. don't do much for me. Plus, with all the vibrant imagery you generate, it's difficult to comprehend why you've delegated it a 3.5 compared to a greater score




are you saying the more description i have the higher my rating should be?? also 3.5 means great. that is a good rating for a 20 minute ep

budgie
September 28th 2017


16730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

HOLY SHIT THIS GOT REVIEWED!!!!

Hawks
September 28th 2017


73729 Comments


This looks awesome.

budgie
September 28th 2017


16730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

check it hawks dude it's right up there alongside mental funeral for best DM for me

Hawks
September 28th 2017


73729 Comments


Damn that's some high praise there bro.

brainmelter
September 28th 2017


6830 Comments


you review dope stuff, keep it up bruv

Digging: zeami - demo

ShadowRemains
September 28th 2017


25134 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'dis good

RunOfTheMill
September 28th 2017


4058 Comments


lmfao great revy, love this thing, i should listen to it more often

Samano89
February 10th 2018


82 Comments


What do you mean by Lovecraft loves riffs? I've never read any works by him but I think it's time I do because so many of my favorite bands have used him for inspiration (Catacomb, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Autopsy, Revenant, Entombed, the list goes on forever).

budgie
September 18th 2019


16730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fuckin bump

Trifolium
September 18th 2019


13710 Comments


Hmmmm those riffs are delish budgie! Great atmosphere here tooooo.

budgie
September 18th 2019


16730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeee french music! artwork is so awesome

Trifolium
September 18th 2019


13710 Comments


Yeah that artwork is amazing. Luckily the inside doesn't disappoint!



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