ALBUM: Pathos -“Katharsis”
LABEL: Massacre Records
GENRE: Progressive/Thrash Metal
RATING: 9.5 / 10
I will now try to review one of my favorite albums. Bear with me if I become sentimental.
I don’t remember how I first heard of Pathos, but it was around the time when this, their last(?) album was being released. Maybe I read an interview with the band, or just saw the album artwork in a record store or a magazine?
However, I do know that I paid 169 SEK for it in town, on the 22nd of December 2002. At the same time I bought The Haunted’s debut and the, also fresh, second album by The Forsaken, “Arts Of Desolation” (Mikael Håkansson, who played bass on the first The Forsaken album, worked there and approved of my choices. I miss him. Does anyone know what became of him after the The Project Hate MCMXCIX albums?). I happened to meet Jonas Björler of The Haunted (also At The Gates, of corpse) on the way out of the store and got my newly purchased album signed by him. I was only 16 years old, and this was one of the coolest days of my life.
Making things better, these three albums are among the best albums ever coming out of Sweden in their respective fields. Still, “Katharsis”, from Trollhättan’s (a swedish town; the name roughly translates to “the troll hood”, but not hood as in “ghetto”) Pathos is the one closest to my heart, and here is why:
- Riffing. It’s unrelenting!
- Groove. Everything is complex, yet catchy!
- Vocals. Clean singing with real power!
These are the three areas where “Katharsis” really sticks out. For me, it’s a thrash/progressive masterpiece. I call it thrash because of the riffing and momentum. I call it progressive because of the unconventional tempos. Upon analyzing the album through the years I always come back to these points. The guitars are never static. Riff-maestro Specht wrote some of the catchiest and heavy, driving riffs I have ever heard and together with Daniel Antonsson (later of Dimension Zero, Soilwork and Dark Tranquillity fame) he made Hall of Fame-status in my book.
Groove is the second crux in the marrow. And here is where drummer Esko Salow shines. In short: he even made the Gothenburg power metal outfit Nostradameus groove.
And vocals, such vocals. Paul Schöning, who is a real soft/nice guy in private, delivers clean vocals with real power (I’m sorry for the repeating) on par with the Bollnäs (again: Sweden) school of power metal. You know, Morgana Lefay (Charles Rytkönen) and Tad Morose (Urban Breed)… There is no falsetto whimpery on this album, just top class, high throat, clean singing with awesome arrangements and melodies.
This could have been a (or THE?) perfect album, but since god hates us all, he decided to end “Katharsis” with an instrumental industrial track called “Divine Intentions”. My goal in life is to help spread the motto of NOT using intro and outro tracks and the device: “No fillers!” (in swedish: “Släpp hellre en EP!” And this 12th track on the album is one of the most unnecessary constructions in music history. I weep every time I hear it. But then I start the record over with the title track and it’s (almost) forgotten.
Review by: MJ