Thunderbolt / Kataxu
Black Clouds over Dark Majesty / Roots Thunder
[Ancestral Research]

Track listing:

1. "Intro (An Initiation)"
2. "Shadows of the Deepest Night"
3. "My Dark Imagination"
4. "Wilderness of the Eternal Darkness"
5. "Moonglare"
6. "The Song of Glory"

7. "Intro"
8. "My Name from the Forest"
9. "War"
10. "Roots Thunder"
11. "Nawia"

The first and very much anticipated release from Ancestral Research Records sees the debut of two Polish hordes, Thunderbolt and Kataxu. Thunderbolt appeared on the compilation-CD "The Night and the Fog" with a good effort entitled "Key to Eternity" so I pretty much knew what to expect from them, Kataxu on the other hand was totally unknown to me. Thunderbolt performs the better half of this CD but Kataxu isn't at all that bad. The Thunderbolt concept just seems to work better, at least to my ears.

Thunderbolt performs a furious kind of black metal with Scandinavian influences but mixes this worn-out concept with some healthy, traditional NSBM elements (i.e. atmospheric keyboards in the background, acoustic guitar, excellent solos and close to ambient sections with acoustic guitar and keyboards only). The metal parts are often fast and quite melodic, as for the Nordic influence: listen to when track 3 kicks in, it could easily been taken from Mörk Gryning's "Tusen År Har Gått". The production is superb and every element is clearly audible. Thunderbolt captures the atmosphere of triumph brilliantly, which NSBM bands generally are quite good at; you could almost feel the glorious black battalions marching to victory straight through your home. Great musicianship and an impressive release all around.

Then onward to Kataxu: The first impression that springs to mind when listening to "My Name from the Forest" is the one of a poor mans Summoning. That impression fades later on but I suspect it doesn't vanish completely. Kataxu use real drums for one thing and plays more traditional black metal then Summoning. Kataxu's music consists of traditional metal parts, metal parts with a heavy keyboard influence and strictly keyboard sounding ambient parts (even "pagan folk" sounding at times). The track "War" for example is a non-metal keyboard instrumental. The "traditional" tracks also have long-lasting ambient keyboard interludes. They even sound like Perunwit at times. This is a good effort but at least I feel that I have to be "in the mood" to truly enjoy it. Great musicianship, a good production and the intent of creating true and honest music also help Kataxu to rise above the average black metal band.

Conclusion: A very good and interesting split-CD that comes highly recommended. Remember to support ARR, it is your duty. Be sure to check out their next release, Thor's Hammer "May the Hammer Crush the Cross", out now I think.

Also be sure to visit them at (not updated for ages I know but still).

© 2001 herr nebelwerfer