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Catalysis – Relicta

by Oli Gonzalez at 12 December 2021, 11:01 AM

From the deepest darkest depths of Dundee, today we have CATALYSIS, a metal band with strong roots in thrash and groove metal. I’ve become familiar with some bands from Scotland who I’ve been lucky enough to see live in my part of the UK. Whether it’s IRON ALTAR,  RAMAGE INC or the mighty BLEED FROM WITHIN, I know there’s some serious talent north of the border so I was excited to get into this album!

“A New Way To Die” opens with a no-nonsense thrash metal guitar onslaught. I find myself headbanging, knowing this is going to a fun one. After having a quick scan of the lyrics prior to listening, I wasn’t expecting this to be pretty. It’s raw, primal, and straight on the nose. However, we’re treated to some more melodic clean vocals, making for a rather aesthetically pleasing chorus. It’s easy to see how CHIMAIRA have influenced the band. In a similar vein, ”Don’t Look Down” has a similar simple yet brutal thrash metal groove. We begin to hear call and response style chants, a throwback to an earlier era of thrash. The solo is absolutely stunning. The tone. The simplicity. Every note has in that sequence has been carefully crafted and placed for maximum impact, rather than mindlessly slapping a few notes together in a rapid arpeggio or series of trills and tapping.

“Forgiven Not Forgotten”. At this point, I’m feeling smug knowing that I’ve potentially unearthed a gem. Guttural heavier vocals make their way into the mix too, showing more dimension. “Laid To Waste”. Wow. Providing a musical epitaph to Chernobyl, the band let their feelings known regarding this atrocity through this monster of a track. “Creating death is nothing new, It's like that's all we ever know how to do”; for me, that portrays intense feelings of disgust and visceral anger towards those involved in this disaster. “Point of no return” begins with a blistering drum fill, allowing the man with the sticks an opportunity to stand out and show his skills! Serious neck snapping would occur at a gig. This is much slower and groovier than the rest of the tracks so far, yet is no less powerful. We’re later treated to an absolute pearl of a solo yet again! I really like this song!

“Exit Loop (Before Expression Is False)” has a thrash metal backbone, similar to what we’ve seen so far. However, the song begins to incorporate more modern metal elements. For instance, the synthetic 808 bass drops throughout. Whereas some bands fail to capture this, CATALYSIS do a great job with recording the ultra-low bass frequencies. I’m sure this would sound brutal live! As a whole, the bass guitar is much more salient in this song, giving the often forgotten instrument some much needed love. I’m sure the techies and software developers will appreciate the numerous coding puns hidden in the lyrics. Fans of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and other melodic death metal acts will certainly appreciate this song!

Overall, “Relitica” is a short sharp blast and fantastic advertisement for the band. Listening to it makes me want to dive into their back catalogue and find out more about them. It’s hard to think of many criticisms. With that being said, whilst it’s clear who the band’s influences are, I do wonder if they’ve stayed too close to those and haven’t really added anything that is their signature to their band. Whilst it certainly is a solid album, I’m unsure if I can find anything that’s unique to the band and nothing that hasn’t already been done before them. This may hold them back in the long run from becoming a top tier band. I’m sure that’ll come and I hope it does because with an album like this, CATALYSIS  truly do have that potential to be a top tier band!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. A New Way To Die
2. Don’t Look Down
3. Forgiven not Forgotten
4. Laid To Waste
5. The Point Of No Return
6. Exit Loop (Before Expression is False)
Col MacGregor - Vocals
Drew Cochrane - Lead guitar and vocals
Sean Ramson - Guitar and vocals
Calum Rennie - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 07 December 2022

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