Album Reviews

Kattah – Lapis Lazuli Review

kattah_cover

Released by: Bakerteam Records

Release Date: October 27th, 2014

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: http://kattahonline.com/

 

Line Up:

Roni Sauaf – Vocals

Victor Brochard – Guitars

Cicero Chagas – Bass

Cristian Alex – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Behind the Clay

2. Inside My Head

3. Apocalypse

4. Alpha Centaury

5. Vetus Espiritus

6. Rebirth of Pharaohs

7. The Hidden Voice

8. Lapis Lazuli

9. A Capoeira

10. Land of God

11. You Will Never Be Dead

12. Untitled

13. Last Chance

 

Here’s an interesting album from a band that had previously escaped my attention. I had heard of Brazillian band Kattah before, but for some reason I had never decided to try their debut Eyes of Sand, go going into their latest album Lapis Lazuli, I had no idea what to expect. What I got was an entertaining, rather unique progressive metal album with a few nice surprises.

As with any metal band from Brazil, one can’t be blamed for expecting some similarities to Angra, and Kattah clearly is influenced by their more famous countrymen, though not in the ways you may expect. Stylistically, this is mostly a mid tempo progressive album, which alternates between some very aggressive, at times borderline thrashy riffing, and some very calm and mellow sections. Where the similarities to Angra come in is with the use of various folk elements, sometimes through the use of folk instrumentation during songs and the two interludes, or even some occasional acoustic folk sections. There’s certainly a fair amount of Arabic flavored music throughout the album, which help gives a unique feel. A couple tracks also have some speedy power metal sections, though these mostly appear in quick bursts. Other songs remind me a lot of early Symphony X, especially with the complex rhythms and mix of heavy and mellow sections. At times there’s also some Iron Maiden influence, though that is mostly true of the vocals.

Roni Sauaf is a very good singer, and like the music he does a great job of alternating between soft and aggressive. He has a unique voice when he sings normally, but on a couple songs I noticed him trying to sound a bit like Bruce Dickinson. This is especially noticeable on “Vetus Espiritus” and “You Will Never Be Dead”, where during the softer portions he sounds a lot like Bruce during his current run with Maiden (the former track even sounds a lot like newer Maiden at the start,) but in the latter track he even does some wails that sound strikingly similar. This isn’t a problem, though, as he pulls it off quite a well, and he does sound distinct enough on other tracks to show he’s a capable singer in his own right.

The album starts off with three mostly mid tempo songs, which all give a good indication what to expect from the album overall. “Apocalypse” is probably the best of these, due to the interesting rhythms of the verses and the excellent chorus, though the opening riff of “Behind the Clay” gets the album off to a great start, and the rest of the song demonstrates the types of contrasts you can expect from the rest of the album. My favorite song of the first half is “Alpha Centaury”, which starts off with some aggressive thrashy sounding power metal riffs, which gives way to a typically calm and understated chorus. “Rebirth of Pharaohs” is another highlight, which has a nice groove during the verses, and in the later parts of the song the Arabic folk elements start to take over for a while.

The second half immediately starts strong, with perhaps my favorite song on the album in “The Hidden Voice”. It’s by far the most power metal focused track on the album, with speedy verses and a surprisingly epic, upbeat chorus compared to the rest of the album. The title track once again makes strong use of the folk elements, which leads into the first interlude track of the album “A Capoeira”, followed by the acoustic folk ballad “Land of God”, which is another highlight, where Roni sounds particularly great. “You Will Never Be Dead” is the longest track on the album, and it’s a pretty interesting one as well, starting off with a calm ballad-ish section, before speeding up briefly, and then alternating between calm and heavy passages. It’s not quite as memorable as some of the other songs, but it’s certainly interesting nonetheless. After the second interlude track “Untitled”, the album ends with “Last Chance”, which is mostly a slow and very melodic track.

Lapis Lazuli is a great progressive metal album, which makes effective use of Arabic flavored folk music at times, to help it stand out a bit from other bands in the genre. With maybe one or two more absolute killer tracks it would even score higher, but as is Kattah has delivered an impressive sophomore effort. Recommended for fans of prog and power metal, especially those who enjoy having some unique folk elements added in.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    8/10

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