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Autocatalytica – Powerclashing Maximalism

Powerclashing Maximalism
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 28 September 2020, 11:28 AM

AUTOCATALYTICA formed in 2009 by Ex-KATHEDRA guitarist Eric Thorfinnson at the Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts). They have released two full-length albums to date, with “Powerclashing Maximalism” being their third. From their Facebook page, they “strive to seamlessly tread a vast expanse of musical territory with its progressive stylings, while still remaining true in its passion for metal, putting unbridled fury in a whole new light.” The album contains eight tracks.

“Bordun” opens the album. It opens with instrumental fury and some Djent tones. The vocals are thick and harsh, as the song turns into the shadows. The chorus is done with clean vocals mostly, bringing some melody to the table. An ambient passage passes by, but it soon replaced by more dissonant guitars and angry vocals. “Zippler” is a shorter, three-and-a-half-minute track, with super-fast guitars and some background atmosphere. Bass guitar notes and clean vocals occupy the first verse, and the chorus is clean as well. But the harsh vocals return early enough.

“Trash Serum” opens with a heavy and slow guitar cadence, with strikes at the right moments. Keeping track of the meter is futile. Dual clean vocals enter at first, high with melody. Then, the harsh vocals turn person to bones. The chorus is clean again, with melodic overtones. The Djent tones then crush the bones into dust, and it’s back to an almost Jazzy clean passage. “Cheggo” opens with a groove of clean guitars, bass and drums, in an almost jovial way. The instruments come together to form this sweet little melody, but again, try to keep track of the meter…it’s nearly impossible.

“Dukka Dukka” has a long fade-in, before the harsh and angry guitar strikes. The music is dissonant at first. Dual harmonic vocals come into play again, with a slight echo, leading to the chorus. Harsh vocals make an appearance, then retreat quickly. The constant push and pull of these competing elements comprise much of the music on the album. “Bananas have Potassium” shows the band has a sense of humor. Clean acoustical guitars whirl all around you, in an almost Spanish sort of sound. They are joined by these rich accents of sound at just the right time. “Crawboi” opens with a soft and soothing edge. The clean female vocals are obviously done by a guest vocalist, but they are quite pleasing. It carries through this way until the end, when harsh and angry vocals take over.

“Graveo” closes the album, with just soft and warm acoustical guitars. It’s over in less than three minutes. Overall, this is Progressive Death Metal turned up to 11. The tight instrumentation is un-matched. But, the moments of splendor show in ambient passages with clean vocals. What is missing perhaps are transitions. The harsh vocals seem to almost come out of nowhere, surprising you when you least expect them. But, the band are very strong musicians to be able to pull something off of this nature. They remind me of the might of OBCURA, but with more obvious moments of melody.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Bordun
2. Zippler
3. Trash Serum
4. Cheggo
5. Dukka Dukka
6. Bananas Have Potassium
7. Crawboi
8. Graveo
William Purcell – Bass
Erik Sorensen – Guitars
Emmett Ceglia – Drums
Eric Thorfinnson – Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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