April 26, 2008

Katabatic - Vago

Album: Vago
Year: 2007
Genre:Post Rock,Experimental,Ambient

Wedging itself somewhere between the explosive ambience of Jakob and the cutting experimentalism of Set Fire to Flames, Katabatic explore a distinctly otherwordly sound on Vago. Aside from the initial track, "03:17:00," which sees the band steadily building in intensity, Vago employs the method of aimless meandering followed by the construction of brief, unexpected walls of sound. These explosions are extremely rough and aggressive, yet they lack the punch we generally like to see. Most likely, this is a result of the muddied production; on one hand the low-budget approach creates a dense atmosphere which does the namesake well, but on the other, it also hides much of the subtlety in the compositions which inevitably take the edge off the more focused exchanges.

As such, the majority of Vago comes off as gimmicky. It's taken Jakob years to hone its craft to a true art form, and without the artistic proficiency of Set Fire to Flames, much of Katabatic's material is superfluous. To the band's credit, when simplicity is in sight there is much to love. Moments on "Rising Nebula" and "Midnight Glow" are magnificent, with icy guitar lines and the faintest hints of ambience burning into our hearts. When more ambitious plans are set, an ineptitude in balancing becomes readily apparent. At the time being we can't really appreciate Vago more than just for its theoretical contributions, but perhaps one day soon Katabatic will be more than just hot air - Lee Whitefield(thesilentballet.com)


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