Katanga- Moonchild

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, May 22, 2011

German gothic metal band Katanga formed in 1996, but it wasn’t until five years later that they released their debut EP. Five years later the group released their debut full length, and they began to get more exposure around Germany. This attracted the interest of Massacre Records, who has released their sophomore full length Moonchild which contains fifteen new songs and three re-recorded older tracks. It’s a lengthy endeavor, and while there are some times where the group seems a little unsure of themselves as a whole this is an interesting collection that’s a bit different from the other gothic tinged acts.

Moonchild is 73 minutes in length, so it is going to take awhile to fully take in everything that Katanga has to offer. Although they’ve been categorized as gothic rock/metal around the web, this is only one area that the band falls into as they are all over the place throughout the course of the album. One moment they’ve got a traditional gothic rock feel that is similar to some of the bands that were popular in the mainstream a little while back, and the next moment they’ve began to incorporate industrial/electro elements into their material. Almost every song feels different from the last, and you can tell that the instrumentalists really wanted to do as much with their instruments as they possibly could. However, this ends up being both a positive and negative element as there are some breathtaking songs and some ones that feel like the different styles don’t quite come together. There are definitely more good tracks than bad ones, but at times Moonchild feels a little inconsistent.

It might seem a little cliche at this point, but the group makes use of both male and female vocals just like many of their peers. However, Katanga tends to use male singing a lot more frequently as quite a few of the songs find Mario Banch taking the lead role. His vocals have a bit of a new wave tinge to them at times as he has a very mellow delivery style, and he is reinforced by Doreen’s soft voice. While both singers give enjoyable performances, I felt as though Doreen was not being utilized quite as much as she could have been and found that Katanga was at their best when the two singers were doing duets. Hopefully in the future the group will try to further utilize each vocalist’s talents and give them equal time, as both have a lot to bring to the table.

Moonchild does have some flaws, as I’m not quite convinced that the band is able to write strong enough compositions when they try to put the keyboards in a lead role rather than a supporting one, but it still has some noteworthy elements. I have to give the band credit for trying so many things with one full length, but they do need to grow a little bit more before they can pull off everything. However, despite the fact that Katanga are rough around the edges there’s something about them that makes you want to see them succeed so here’s hoping that next time around they can live up to the potential showcased here.


Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Massacre Records

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