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Catatonic Society - Baptistina

Catatonic Society
Baptistina
by Nitsan "Moonchild" Cohen at 16 June 2015, 4:06 PM

Before I first listened to CATATONIC SOCIETYs' album "Baptistina", I thought about almost everything possible besides what I actually heard. By the descriptions, I expected a simple Heavy Metal. By the album artwork of a demon rising from hell, I figured it's supposed to be some kind of brutal Death. Even by the lyrics, I've expected something more gothic and dark. By the first listen to the album, I understood it was none of the above. What I listened to was more of a clash between Heavy and Thrash, with many unclear shouting and a brutal attempt to beat up some instruments. It's not that CATATONIC SOCIETY are not good, they are just very far away than what I would ever like to listen to.

In every single song, there are some clear motives that repeated and upset me over and over again. First, the Bass player isn't to be heard at all. Maybe asides from the beginning of "Ashes", the final song in the album, in which there's a nice bass line to start with, but soon it is also lost behind the overly loud guitar and drums. Second, the guitar and drums are overly loud. It is also very punctuate and on the spot. It sounds like they are trying to hit the riffs in the exact spaces, without any interesting changes of paste. The guitar lines throughout the album are minor and boring, also asides from their act in "Ashes". In this song, the guitar lines are more interesting and there are even some parts you can call a guitar solo. Third, the singer screams at the microphone. He doesn't grunt, neither high nor low, he just screams. That which leads me to the fourth – there are some great lyrics to this band, and I couldn't understand a word said.

The second song in the album, "Lost At Sea", is a great example of all of the above. There are some nice guitar lines, but they are not interesting and sound like something you've already heard before. The lyrics are great in my opinion, and remind me of much darker and deeper groups. Yet although the great lyrics, the vocals are hard to digest and I don't think they contribute much to the song. "Gravity", on the other hand, is a mostly instrumental song. I do believe with better balance between the drums to the other instruments could be a great one. Surprisingly enough, in this song the vocals are much gentler. It takes a while until Dickinson starts shouting at the microphone and in that while there's a dark and heavy tone to the song that I liked. This is a short 6:46 minutes song, that could have absolutely end after about 5. Not because the last part is not good, it might be the best of the entire album, but because it deserves it's place and has nothing to do with the rest of the song.

In their Facebook page, CATATONIC SOCIETY declares they are influenced by "various catastrophic storms throughout history… and BLACK SABBATH". That influence sure is heard in the beginning of "Mandrake", that reminded me another song they must all love. It takes about 30 seconds for it to change its' face and return to the same monotonic routine that carries on the entire album. Those same lines continue in songs like "Solomon's Temple", in which even the breaks are so well timed that it breaks my heart. The guitars and drums are doing the exact same thing, and repeating, it's getting super boring. Even when there are some guitar solos or riffs that could be interesting, the drums come along and join the party without any of the sides brings something special to the table.

I'm sure some of you would very much enjoy this album, as another thing to put on your playlist and head bang to. I, on the other hand, think they have a lot more room to improve. They are not bad, just very confused. There are few small steps for them to become a great band, in my taste. First, improve the balance. Don't necessarily lower the drums, but increase everything else (especially that bass player). Then, decide your genre. It doesn't have to be something defined or known, but the players need to know what they are playing. Next, let the awesome guitar player focus on the guitars and add a lead singer. Finally, loose the metronome, stop reading criticism, and play what the hell you like, that's how you make the best music.

1 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Left Hand Path
2. Lost At Sea
3. Gravity
4. Mandrake
5. Baptistina
6. Solomon's Temple
7. Lazarus Frankenstein
8. Last Stand
9. Shiva The Destroyer
10. Ashes
Lineup:
Jay Dickinson – Vocals\Guitars
Ken Onesko – Drums
Sergiy Trushel – Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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