Katra - Out of the Ashes
Napalm Records
Finnish Gothic Metal
10 songs (44'29")
Release year: 2010
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex

Perhaps I have approached Katra’s Out of the Ashes with prejudice, or perhaps I was simply in a foul mood and wanted to pick at something, so this album became a scapegoat of that day. Bottomline – once I saw Napalm Records, Finnish gothic metal and a picture of a good-looking scantily dressed girl on the cover, Katra had an uphill battle to fight and an obligation to meet. Popping like mushrooms after rain, the band had to prove it to me that the world needs Katra’s existence among million other look-alikes. And speaking of Finland and mushrooms, I suppose it rains the hardest in Suomi as the number of Katras there is the greatest.

Stepping away from the frustration of the day, chill pill taken and swallowed, I really can’t say that Out of the Ashes is a bad, unprofessional or unlistenable album. It is none of those things, but it still does not manage to keep my interest above average. The first and probably major downfall is needless, continuous and overused utilization of the formula which rules how many songs on Out of the Ashes unfold. A melody or a riff, with a nice flow (Vendetta) starts the song with some sound richness, only to completely retreat and have Katra Solopuro sing the verse unobstructed. The chorus then is where full-bodied heaviness returns, while the hook central to a particular song is presented. This pedestrian situation becomes so predictable it is easy to guess when the song is about to go into this tried and true tailspin (If There’s No Tomorrow, Vendetta, title cut, the beginning of Hide and Seek). Whoever writes the music for Katra almost feels obligated to live up to the name’s moniker, thinking that if the vocalist is showcased the goal is complete. Ms. Solopuro does not possess the voice of extraordinary proportions, lacking both significant power or strange enchanted qualities. She hits most notes presented to her, but she is no Tarja Turunen or Liv Kristine. It is not Katra’s voice which disappointed me the most, however, but her poetry. My 10 year old daughter, who also dabbles in the art, writes about on the same level (I have to cut Katra some slack since English is not her first language).

I did like Out of the Ashes more when the Finns at least attempted to ditch the formula and go for an off-beat rhythm in the chorus with a preceding syncopated verse (One Wish Away), quick hint of an Egyptian theme (Anthem), when Katra sang as if stoned (towards the end of Hide and Seek), or even if, gulp, the whole composition was a wistful acoustic or a ballad (The End of the Scene and Envy, respectively). Anything but the dreaded formula, so that is why in retrospect the second part of the album was more palatable for me as Katra showed more variety and hints of diversity on its B-side. The guys probably think, however, that all of their hits came early.

The utter disdain for the album being replaced with moderate tolerance, I will definitely submit to the fact that if your collection is full with Finnish gothic metal, then Katra is not to be missed and will fit right in, taking the spot right within the median Gaussian distribution in that genre. It definitely is not less, but do not expect much more.

Killing Songs :
One Wish Away, Envy, Hide and Seek
Alex quoted 60 / 100
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