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Ketch : The Anthems Of Dread (Reissue)

Two startlingly strong releases back-to-back on a single disc: why wouldn't Ketch's output rightfully go straight on the 'essential purchases' list?

I shall keep this fairly brief, mainly because my colleague Matt has already done most of the heavy lifting as far as Ketch is concerned, and the recordings here - though lightly remastered - are basically identical to the ones he covered. So, rather than a re-review from the ground up, this is more to draw attention to the availability of a mainstream, in Doom terms, re-release.

Both the original 2014 'Ketch' EP and subsequent 'The Anthems Of Dread' full-length earlier this year were released on CD by the band, but with runs of just 50 and 100 copies respectively, you'd already have a hard job tracking either of them down. Fortunately, Aesthetic Death saw fit to collect the entirety of both here and present them in a 6-panel digi format with all-new, tastefully stylish artwork and lyrics printed on the inner folds.

Kicking off with the six tracks of the somewhat more musically polished and experimental 'The Anthems Of Dread', Ketch's particular stall is more or less laid out immediately. Echoing, atmospheric, quite drifting and spacy Post-Metal sections blend into massive Sludge riffs backed by some high-energy percussion and familiarly raspingly aggressive or semi-shrieked vocals. So far, so template, but where the band excel is, firstly, in keeping the compositions moving, so that even the longest - nine-minute-plus - ones maintain pace and interest and, secondly, in the dynamic powerhouse of the drumming. The rest of the band more than hold their own as far as complementary and excellent musicianship is concerned, but it's the variation and punch of the 'engine room' that impresses me the most.

The final four tracks - the 'Ketch' EP - offer a few less frills, in some ways, being more of a full-on heavy assault with hints of Death/Doom in the vocals and some of the riffing. Otherwise, it's a similar mixture to 'The Anthems Of Dread', and executed with the same sort of skill and synergy between the musicians. It's a fitting inclusion that's lost none of its impressiveness as a debut by being in proximity to its successor.

As much as anything, the textural shifts and turns Ketch pull off with practised ease, and the pacy, forcefully off-kilter, rhythms that accompany them remind me of a sludgier version of the excellent Zatokrev. But for a more in-depth analysis of the music, I recommend Matt's earlier pieces on 'The Anthems Of Dread' and 'Ketch'. For myself, I'd express a slight preference for the full-length over the EP, but either way, what you're getting here are two startlingly strong releases back-to-back on a single disc. I can't think of a single reason why that shouldn't rightfully go straight on the 'essential purchases' list.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
The Anthems Of Dread
1. Fertile Rites By Sacrifice
2. Distant Time
3. En Nomine Eius
4. The Monsters Of This World
5. Estranged
6. Detached And Conquered
7. Shimmering Lights
8. Counting Sunsets
9. Chemical Despondency
10. 13 Coils

Duration : Approx. 67 minutes

Visit the Ketch bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-01-18 by Mike Liassides
Thermal Mass
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