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Catharsis - Wings 5/5

Reviewed: 10-28-05


1. Overture
2. Who are you?
3. Hold Fast
4. Wings
5. Our way
6. Call of the beast
7. Talisman
8. Madre
9. The guardian of times
10. Remember me
11. The symphony of fire
12. The song of the moon

Are you desperately seeking originality? Well, in a year that has brought many surprises, Catharsis may have offered the most original and shocking power metal release yet! I'm not usually one to care a whole lot about originality, as I enjoy a lot of the generic bands just as much. But when a truly original CD comes around, especially one as great as Catharsis' 3rd full-length CD 'Wings', I really get excited. Although the band hasn't changed their overall style too much from their first 2 CDs, 'Dea' and especially 'Imago' (which are excellent), there are some aspects that are different with 'Wings' and provide a great deal of originality. For one, while both 'Dea' and 'Imago' were sung in English (although a Russian version of 'Imago' was later released), the band has chosen Russian (the band's native country) lyrics for 'Wings'. Although an English version is supposed to be released at a later time, I find the Russian lyrics to be a huge plus for the band, as vocalist Oleg Zhilyakov sings with more confidence, power, control, range (almost operatic a few times), and also fits the extremely well written music perfectly. It should be noted that both the CD title and tracklist are translated, as I have no knowledge of the Russian language and many of the symbols did not comply with the site's format.

Another aspect of the CD that really creates an original sound is the wide range of instruments used. The band is made up of brilliant musicians who are obviously classically influenced. I hear everything from the usual piano and keyboard, to a frequently-appearing flute, and even a saxophone is heard. The many instruments definitely set Catharsis apart, and the way these instruments inter-mix is so well done I just sit back in amazement. The production is absolutely huge in every way, but especially with the clear and powerful guitars, as there are numerous parts that display very thick and heavy riffs. This is most evident with track 3 "Hold Fast", which starts off with a flute melody, then quickly kicks in some grinding guitars that create a killer hook! Besides "Hold Fast", the other favorite of mine is the catchy-as-hell track 9 "The guardian of times". This song is a great example of why we're all into music, searching through the many CDs, looking for the one that will amaze. Awesome song!

But 'Wings' not only contains these tremendous power metal numbers that leave me breathless, the CD also features 3 wonderful ballads. The first is track 5 "Our way", which starts out very slow with pleasant vocals, then a distant flute is heard as the song picks up in a heavier fashion midway. The saxophone is later introduced in a surprising, yet pleasing manner, and provides something extra to remember. The next ballad is track 8 "Madre". What a beautiful song this is. Again starting out with soft vocals, an acoustic guitar, but without the flute we heard in "Our way". The song is then highlighted by the piano carrying the vocal chorus, which brings me an emotional feeling as we hit the fantastic guitar solo towards the end. The last ballad is track 10 "Remember me", also outstanding, has both piano and keyboard parts, backing female vocals, and follows the earlier mentioned song "The guardian of times". This combination 3/4 of the way through the CD works very well, and can always be looked forward to as each spin is begun. Although 3 ballads can be too many for a lot of CDs, when they're written so well and performed with so much passion, it only makes for a better song variety. More extraordinary power metal numbers take care of the unmentioned tracks of the CD until we reach the final track "The song of the moon", which is an Arabian-sounding atmospheric instrumental that leaves me with a feeling of completeness.

There are many power metal fans who really take originality seriously, and this could possibly be the one CD that these fans have been looking for. However, with the somewhat unique music style and Russian lyrics, running off and purchasing the CD based solely on this review is not really recommended. But I still stand by the "masterpiece" rating as a proud metal fan who wants nothing more than to make you aware of the creativity and brilliance of Catharsis. This is not only the best Russian power metal CD I've ever heard, but also one of the few CDs to get the "masterpiece" rating that I can truly label flawless. Yep, that's right - I love every musical and vocal part of every single song. From beginning to end, I deem this CD "Flawless".




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