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Mandatory - Catharsis

by Andrew Green at 17 October 2014, 1:07 PM

Straight out of Austria come melodic death-metal outfit MANDATORY, and one thing can be said, these guys know how to be aggressive. Their latest release “Catharsis” proves no exception to this as the quintet present you with a sound that is guaranteed to resonate with you for some time after. It’s a little challenging to describe their sound, obviously under a label of melodic death-metal you can understand what to expect and they comply with the genre; but there’s something a little different about this band

The first thing to be mentioned has to be the vocals. Front man Max Hundsberger nails the sound of the group perfectly with his deep, bellowing growls, that sound genuinely forged from pain. Backing him all the way, his cohorts rip out a thrashy, abrasive noise filled with melodic guitars and fast paced drums; all of the ingredients for a monumental mosh-pit. Their musical prowess continues as the band are able to kick out meaty riffs, followed by monolithic breakdowns with ease, in short, rather impressive.

The album jumps into gear with opening track “End of Watch” which sees the group start as they intend to go on. Fast and powerful guitars punch along to the kick pedal before everything slows, and the strings lead you into an almighty breakdown. The lyrics ‘We are the poison, coming for you’ stand out here, and with Hundsberger roaring them, they become unnervingly convincing. The guitarists also have an opportunity to showcase their fret-board chops here, which makes for good listening.

“Emperor” which is the fourth track on the release introduces a synth, or piano backing (I can’t quite make it out) that brings eeriness to the song, whilst keeping its aggressive tone. This also features quotation from Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ speech, which is epic in its own rights, but is given a new twist once paired with the MANDATORY musicians. At the end of this extract the metallers claim ‘They do not fulfil the promise, they never will, but we will’ in an almost rallying attempt to get the listener to follow their ways, and they’ve convinced me.

The clean vocals offered by percussionist Mike Pfaffenhuemer provide the mix’s with catchy hooks that play over in your head once the song has finished. They are very well placed and suit the band musically, however they don’t sit too well with me, there’s something about them that just seems a little off. This isn’t really a criticism as it is just personal preference, so you should listen to “Act 1: Tragedy” and gauge your own opinion.

All-in-all MANDATORY have showed me that I should listen to more melodic death-metal, as I thoroughly enjoyed “Cartharsis” and I know that any other fan of metal would, easily. Great work and an excellently heavy effort.

4 Star Rating

1. End of Watch
2. Act I: Tragedy
3. To the Streets
4. Emperor
5. Act II: Catharsis
6. Shadowmaker
7. For the World To See
8. Act 111: Purification
9. Blueprint
Max Hundsberger - Vocals
Mike Pfaffenhuemer - Drums, Clean Vocals
Manuel Rohrauer - Guitar
Chris Hormann - Guitar
Leo Wolfmayr - Bass
Record Label: Independent


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