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Catwalk - …Out of Nowhere

Catwalk
…Out of Nowhere
by Kyle Harding at 08 September 2016, 9:19 AM

Listen, on the radio! It’s VAN HALEN! It’s EUROPE! It’s IRON MAIDEN! No, it’s CATWALK! And would you believe it, a band that thought they had seen their day decades ago has awoken from their cryogenic-freezing chambers and stepped out of their 20-year hiatus to bring you music from the past on a freshly-pressed record. The album, “…Out of Nowhere”, plain and simple, comes off as vintage as it gets in our digitalized age. The music sounds accurately analog, their style follow unwritten rules of days past, and even the cover art looks like a 1983 tour poster that your parents had hanging in their first apartment together.

The 4-piece act from Austria thrive on musical forms that stood as vanguards of the early Metal movement many ages ago, once forgotten and now roaring back with fire and thunder seemingly… out of nowhere. The album is aptly titled as such, having appeared from the great, blue sky clad in black leather and silver studs.

Every band member adheres to these old rules of early Rock and Metal in a very true way. Hell, when I first threw on “…Out of Nowhere”, I thought that Metal Temple had made a mistake and assigned me a release too far-gone for a review, and yet the record itself is less than half a year old. Their singer and bassist, Johnny, vocalizes in a high, soaring blend of something like David Lee Roth and Bruce Dickinson. His varying degrees of range shift in conjunction to the music fluidly and shatter the room with some powerful vibrato, all the while rumbling his fuzzy bass under Mario’s overdriven guitar. The stringsman plays an even selection of powerful chords, enticing leads, and technical solos that fly alongside Johnny’s singing. CATWALK’s drummer, Florian, contributes a bit of an interesting touch with a wide use of his kit and more driving force behind his drumming, which adds a bit more of that modern metal to push the band forward- similar to fitting a restored, classic auto with new wheels and a turbo-charged engine, ready to roll. And, of course, that finer touch of a synthesizer delivered by Norbert with many kinds of sounds, ambience, and instrumentals at his fingertips. All of these are great strengths of the band, which are solid and true in a world that hides behind masks and monitors- safe nostalgia to fly us home to something familiar that we can depend upon.

However, this kind of vintage sound also comes with a bit of a price. Many bands that emulate this style tend to play with a bit more power backing their instruments to compensate at risk of becoming a bit… stale. Though I mentioned the drummer has some good power, and some songs do overcome this problem, like “Tonight” and “The Mountain”, the album begins to drag a little about halfway through, and even I am finding myself losing track of what’s happening. Though “…Out of Nowhere” is musically solid and a beautiful effort, the band should move on with a little more focus in their delivery as well as mixing, doing what they can to add a bit more force and edge in order to stay energetic all the way through, even maybe a little livelier in some of the more somber tunes.

On a better note, however, one thing I definitely didn’t expect that “…Out of Nowhere” offered was its versatility. The band has that “vintage” sound down pat, but a term such as that covers many corners, and this band has explored many of them. Some songs with heavier guitar and harder drums like “The Mountain”, “Hole in the Sky”, and “Coming Out Of Nowhere” allow it to take on that old-school Heavy Metal or Power Metal feel, like they’re directly off a JUDAS PRIEST or IRON MAIDEN record. Others come off as kind of Jazz-Rock- softer, slower, but not lacking in musicianship and technicality in any way. “It’s Not Easy”, “Head on the Desert”, and “I Want You to Know” follow this mode of performance while still carrying themselves like classic Metal. We even get a few 80s-esque hair ballads with “It Came On To Rain” or “Tonight”. These are all incredible examples of the band’s ability to play a variety of tunes that keeps the album rich and flexible.

Overall, “…Out of Nowhere” is a solid release and a good comeback for CATWALK, a blast from the past that even the youth could appreciate today. Again, the delivery and mixing could have been a little stronger and smoother to keep the album fresh, as things get a little dry on the way through. Yet, we’re caught off guard with the songwriting and various styles that keep us sticking around for more.

It’s really neat to see CATWALK back in action, and I anticipate their next release more than ever now that they’ve dusted off the sticks and restrung the guitars. My message to them: keep being what you are and don’t change with the times for anybody!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Fire In Your Heart
2. Tonight
3. The Mountain
4. It’s Not Easy
5. Head On The Desert
6. It Came On To Rain
7. I Want You To Know
8. So Here I Am
9. Hole In The Sky
10. Verge Of Ruin
11. Coming Out Of Nowhere
12. Dr. Jeckyll And Mr. Hyde
13. Shadow Of A Shade
Lineup:
Johnny Schwarzinger - Vocals, Bass
Florian Schnabl - Drums
Norbert Steinkellner - Keyboard
Mario Pohn - Guitar
Record Label: 7Hard Records
     


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Edited 07 December 2022
 

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