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Catalyst Crime – Catalyst Crime Award winner

Catalyst Crime
Catalyst Crime
by Thomas Kumke at 18 October 2021, 10:49 PM

CATALYST CRIME was formed by vocalist Zoë Marie Federoff in 2017. The US band is a symphonic Metal band with Death Metal and progressive Metal elements in their sound. “Catalyst Crime” is their debut album and it was produced, mixed and mastered by Alexander Krull (ATROCITY, LEAVES’ EYES) at German Mastersound Entertainment Studio. There are several guest contributions on the album from Jake E (CYHRA, ex-AMARANTHE), Thorsten Bauer and Micky Richter (ATROCITY, LEAVES’ EYES), Bill Hudson (I AM MORBID) and Harri Hytönen (KALMAH). “Catalyst Crime” was released via German label Massacre Records which has a number of Death, Black, Power, and Heavy Metal bands among their roster. The album has a length of more than 50 minutes.

One of the features that separates CATALYST CRIME from other symphonic Metal bands is the focus on cinematic elements. That makes their music sounding bigger and more bombastic. Accordingly, the album starts with a cinematic intro “With Only The Sun As My Witness” which builds up tension and expectations. It transitions seamlessly into “Projection Of My Mind”, which also uses a short orchestra-driven intro to raise tension even more. It all gets eventually released when the guitar riffs, bass, and drums kick-in. The riffing is sharp and the song is kept mid-tempo. The vocals are clean and vary between medium and high pitched end of the vocal range. The orchestral arrangements in the background provide a typical symphonic Metal atmosphere. “Condemn Me To Chaos” starts with some powerful guitar riffs and the track includes a catchy, sing-along chorus. Most notably, the orchestral arrangements are kept to a bare minimum. The track is perfectly suited for a single release and, no surprise, it was released and the YouTube link is given below. At the time when the video was shot, Christopher Zoupa was already replaced by the new guitarist Chëna Ohanele.

There is more dominant orchestra involved in “Mother Dearest”, it is one of the fastest and heaviest track and contains a lot of Death Metal vibes during the verse section including growling vocals, while the chorus sections act as a counterpart leading to an emotional rollercoaster throughout. Highlight of the track is the extended lead guitar solo, which is melodic but direct and aggressive and contributes excellently to the song. I really love the Beauty and the Beast approach to “Mother Dearest” which makes it to a highlight of the album for me. “Cognitive Dissonance” is another fast track with heavy guitar riffs and Power Metal inspirations. It includes guest vocalist Jake E who is having a fine contribution alongside Zoë Marie Federoff and the duet drives the song forward and adds another dimension to it. “Break Even” is one of the darker and heavier tracks on the album. The tempo is almost stomping during the verse section with grim guitar riffs, while the chorus section is faster and includes a few Power Metal vibes. The orchestral arrangements are kept a bit more in the background, but they contribute very well to the gloomy atmosphere of the track.

The album has its strengths in its diversity across the tracks. “Twice Upon A Time” and “Chasing The Ghost” are two prominent examples. “Twice Upon A Time” is a fine piece of symphonic Metal, driven by the orchestral contributions which lead to a bombastic sound at times and a melancholic atmosphere especially during the piano part. The vocal lines keep the song together and Zoë Marie Federoff has an outstanding performance here. “Chasing The Ghost” is a ballad and a Folk influenced song. It is mainly driven by the piano and the beautiful voice of Zoë Marie Federoff and this symbiosis provides a unique atmosphere.

Nowhere Near Dead Yet” is another dark track. Introduced by a cinematic sequence, it transitions into a verse section with heavy guitar riffs at mid-tempo. The chorus section has catchy melodies and the vocals switch between clean and growling. “Nowhere Near Dead Yet” has its strength in its different layers: the pounding rhythm and the heavy guitars, the atmosphere provided by the orchestral elements, the piano, and the diversity in vocals. While “Without Anesthesia” is another symphonic Power Metal song, “Not Even Once” is more dominated by the atmospheric symphonic part. The album closes out with the cinematic outro “One And Counting”.

CATALYST CRIME release an excellent debut album. It includes the best elements of symphonic Metal and the cinematic elements add an extra dimension to their sound. “Catalyst Crime” is a perfect symbiosis of modern Metal, Power Metal, Death Metal and orchestral arrangements with the overarching vocals of Zoë Marie Federoff who puts the album onto a higher level. The sound of the album is diverse and distinctive which is evidence for excellent songwriting. The album is very well produced. CATALYST CRIME set the bar very high with their debut album and the band is on a good way to become one of the very best in symphonic Metal.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. With Only The Sun As My Witness (Intro)
2. Projection Of My Mind
3. Condemn Me To Chaos
4. Mother Dearest
5. Twice Upon A Time
6. Cognitive Dissonance
7. Break Even
8. Chasing The Ghost
9. Nowhere Near Dead Yet
10. Without Anesthesia
11. Not Even Once
12. One And Counting (Outro)
Lineup:
Zoë Marie Federoff – Vocals
Christopher Zoupa – Guitars
Kaelen Sarakinis ­ Guitars
Gerit Lamm – Drums
Matt Federoff – Bass
Jonah Weingarten ­ Keyboards
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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