Embraze - _Katharsis_
(Low Frequency Records, 2001)
by: Adam Lineker (6.5 out of 10)
A truly great piece of power metal grabs you by the heartstrings and blasts you with the metal spirit, making you throw ridiculous shapes, torture your neck muscles and develop an affinity for plastic weaponry. Sadly, finding a truly great work of power metal is not a pleasure regularly experienced. So many bands, no matter how feverishly they rework those Maiden riffs, fail to capture that crucial vibe that separates bombastic brilliance from cheesy shite. I was immediately gripped by the opening track of _Katharsis_, an emotive work of dynamic riffing and beautiful guitar melody that transforms Embraze into fantasy metal gods in an instant. It is a real shame that the triumph of "My Star" burns out and dissipates into nothing as the album progresses into turgidity. While the music is refined by a thickened production and a clinically tight performance, no amount of proficiency or gloss can smooth over the abundance of peaks and troughs featured on this opus. The strength of Lauri Tuohimaa's vocals is also somewhat suspect: although his voice gives Embraze some character, his power death gurglings are often mundane and, although he attempts to compensate with expression, it soon becomes obvious that he has a rather restricted vocal range. Embraze battle their stylistic shortcomings in variety with moments of melodic flair, and although nothing matches "My Star", both "The Sun Loves the Moon" and "Closed" are strong works. Yet there are many tracks that are not worth mention. There is less choking idiocy on _Katharsis_ than there might have been, but when Tuohimaa attempts to be James Hetfield (ooooo!) on the groovier tracks it is truly cringeworthy. And don't even get me started on the horrible folk keyboards in "Frozen Swan". Ultimately _Katharsis_ shows that Embraze could be promising, but at present they lack consistency in many areas. This offering would work so much better as an EP; the opening track has received multiple spins through my sound system, but I have very little interest in revisiting the rest of this album.

Contact: http://www.mastervox.fi/embraze/

(article published 20/10/2003)

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