I can easily keep saying this until I’m blue in the face, but a good introduction to an album is extremely important, even making or breaking an album in some cases, and with Katharsis, Shear have completely delivered with the introductory number. Also serving as the title track of the album, it’s an awesome myriad of different ideas merged together to form one majestic and atmospheric entity and it just builds up and up, adding more and more until things fully get underway with the first full track, Last Warning, which feels like a brutal assault on your ears in the best possible way due to the mindblowing keys, earworms of guitar riffs and the powerful vocals atop of them all.
To say that frontwoman Alexa has a magnificent set of pipes on her is an understatement and she truly gives the performance of her life throughout the album, performing with such versatility – her vocals lend themselves to both the softer and more emotional sections and add just the right amount of melody to the somewhat heavier sections.
It’s not just Alexa that gives a nigh-on flawless performance because the keys in particular on this release are mindblowing, with so many great sections that it’s impossible to earmark just one particular highlight – but Hollow, Black & Cold (which also features a top-notch guitar solo), For The Restless and the aforementioned Last Warning all feature cracking keyboard lines from Lari.
In all honesty, it does take a lot to impress me with female-fronted metal, but Katharsis has pretty much blown my mind. This is an album you absolutely must have in your life.