Album Title: Sudowia
This is the first demo from Katorga, a Polish band playing pagan black metal.
The sound on this demo is very thick, with guitar and drums that seem to blend together into a mass of sound. Both guitar and drums are a little sloppy, though that's forgivable for this sort of raw black metal. The vocals are screamed, in the tradition of Burzum.
These songs seem somewhat undirected. There are a lot of good riffs, and some interesting harmonies here and there, as on "Sztandaru Swaroga", but for the most part, the songs themselves don't have much cohesion. The transitions between different riff patterns are uneven or even nonexistent, making the songs sound a bit jarring.
"Noc W Lesie" is the exception -- its successive waves of crashing riffs give the song a much more powerful effect than the others. The last few seconds of this song are especially interesting: the band overrides the main theme in mid-swing, replacing it with a stomping, smashing outro. Here, the abrupt transition is appropriate, and reminds me of the grandiose imprecision of early Graveland.
The haunting outro track, "Nostalgia", is also nice, with its wind samples and sparse, picked guitar. I suppose I'm just a sucker for this sort of thing, though.
Sudowia is OK for a first demo, but as "Noc W Lesie" shows, it could have been a lot better. Given more songwriting practice, I expect Katorga will improve on their next demo. For now, though, Sudowia is not recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Noc W Lesie", "Nostalgia"