6/25/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Embraze - Katharsis - 2005 - Crash Music
Thank you Crash Music for introducing Embraze to myself and the other Americans who have somehow missed the boat. This young Finnish group have been honing their craft since 1994, mastering themselves and their work through two album releases. Their debut, "Laeh", was released in 1998 through Mastervox Records. The band returned with their second effort a year later, the acclaimed "Intense", an album that finally saw a larger release in 2001 through MTM Music. Now Crash Music has stepped up, finally seeing the perfect timing to introduce this up and coming band. Embraze now unveil their third release and first major attempt at global recognition.
"Katharsis" is just an amazing record, really capturing those cold, northern sounds made famous by the likes of Sentenced, Amorphis, Cry Havoc, and Paradise Lost. In my years of metal collecting I can never find enough of these types of records, the moody, orchestrated atmospheres that are needed for a certain time and place. But "Katharsis" certainly isn't a one dimensional record, no not at all. This album carries on many different genres and avenues, at times just simply breathtaking in each quick turn of pace. For the most part the band keep it heavy metal, combining everything from power to classic metal, but they still add in that lethal dose of sinister, gothic atmosphere. You can hear influences from Type-O-Negative to Moonspell, all neatly spoken and wrapped up in a layer of gothic keys and whispered cautions. I've never been a huge fan of gothic metal, but Embraze keeps "Katharsis" moving forward much like a power metal record. The fast riffs keep coming, the arrangements build towards big chorus parts, and for the most part vocalist Lauri Tuohimaa (a male singer I might add) keeps everything fresh with a variety of vocal styles.
In regards to the Sentenced comparison I would speculate that Embraze falls more on the "Amok" era of Sentenced. Tuohimaa's voice is slightly geared towards a more gruff delivery and the melody and twin guitar found here is most closely related to that particular era of the band. "Amok" just had those big, wicked, melodic parts with the strange bass lines. Embraze does this and does it well, carrying through with a fabulous work filled with diversity and innovation. While fast cuts like "My Star" and "Sinmaker" carry on that classic heavy metal vibe, other songs like "Beautiful Death" and "Subzero" keep a Moonspell type of pace, never really getting as dull as Billy Idol but still keeping a fresh gothic stance. The band seems to display an amazing ability to simply rock, with a big dose of creepy hard rock injected into "Fear" and "Calm And Distant", both cuts filled with huge riffs backed by drummer Illka Leskel's amazing AC/DC type hands.
If you are a fan of the more gothic natured heavy metal, then look no further than Embraze. This is an important band in my opinion, one that will slowly but surely be looked at in the same light as Paradise Lost, Lake Of Tears, Sentenced, Cry Havoc, and even Moonspell. I think it is simply fabulous that the band have created this type of record, an enjoyable yet moody piece that is just captivating and mesmerizing. Crash Music has a BIG winner on their hands here, with Embraze really just getting started. Now that they have your attention, they can start the show.
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