Review Summary: acoustic black metal?Só Quem Viu o Relampago a Sua Direita Sabe
is an obvious anomaly in the genre and takes a risk omitting the distortion and replacing it with acoustic guitars. Kaatayra’s two previous albums that were released just last year also had Brazillian-folk influences at the backbone of it but this album takes it to the next level. I was admittedly worried upon reading that this was going full acoustic because this has been attempted a couple of times by other bands and have fallen flat. This choice is anything but a gimmick, enhancing the aesthetic and themes that the band is at its core. It works surprisingly well and sounds quite inherent to the band's already established style. It is a gamble that pays off in more ways than one, as it doesn’t feel like a grand departure from the band’s previous work and it's their most accessible album yet.
Kaatayra’s last album, Nascido Sob o Signo Incivilizatório
was vicious and angry. But this album is ‘softer’ and it’s not that way solely because of the obvious; the compositions soar more often utilizing clean vocals in the distant background with most songs materializing into cascading crescendos. The harsh vocals, the blast beats, and overall aggressive song structures are still present and come off as more vengeful rather than malicious. This is a band that revels in the beauty of the colors within a rainforest and the serene tranquility of it all. Picture this: the goddess Gaia appears in a great storm, laying down her thunderous wrath in response to an army that burnt down a large portion of a rainforest, killing most of its inhabitants. Melting the men with the sheer heat of the lightning she strikes them with, the meat and skin falling off their bones so quickly even if they could run away, their own bodily fluids and liquified muscle tendons would plaster them in place. Leaving their phosphorus skeletons left frozen in position, to just disintegrate into dust by the storm’s winds, thus becoming sedimentary nourishment for the forest mixing in with the ashes of the fire, divinely part of something they destroyed. The fire only sparing the young inhabitants of the forest to take up the responsibility of preservation and starting anew.
The album works well because this aesthetic hones in on that irresistible quality that the best black metal bands can have: the tragic hopefulness and bright, gleaming melancholy. The dichotomy that, on paper, would sound like nonsense to the uninitiated and bring great catharsis to the well-versed, while leaving the ones in-between filled with wonder at the very least. While not necessarily breaking new ground or shattering genre barriers, this is by far the best iteration of this specific style I think I’ve heard. Other black metal bands in this ilk are bands like Panopticon and Yellow Eyes, or just the entirety of the Black Twilight Circle label. (Not saying this is better than the aforementioned band(s) work, just that they occupy a similar place, spiritually.)
The song ‘Desnaturação de Si-Mesmo’ is this album's crowning achievement. It takes everything the album is working with and pushes it ten-fold. It’s brimming with emotion and utilizes keyboards to enhance the melody. At around the five minute mark it begins to dissemble and morphs into a very pleasant samba break that could have only come from somewhere like Portugal. It’s the warmest song on the album and I’m excited to hear more of this mood in particular. And at the rate Caio Lemos is going (Kaatayra’s sole member), I’m sure we’ll have another album this year. I had my doubts initially but I’m here waiting with open ears for Kaatarya’s next descent into the forest.