Release Date: 15th November 2013
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
There's a five-piece electro groove-metal combo leaping about really excited right now because they have unleashed their debut full length studio opus. It goes by the name of 'Catalyst' and is an interesting collision of influences to say the least.
If you're rather partial to TesseracT, Sybreed or Monuments, then there's a chance that you'll find these guys most interesting.
'Catalyst' contains guest vocal contributions by Guillaume Bideau from Mnemic and the single that you may have stumbled across titled 'Zenith'. If you're a busy bee and are aware of their music video for 'Nine Worlds' which clocked up over 110,000 views on YouTube, you may be slightly disappointed that it isn't included on this nine track collection.
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The words "dark" and "intense" are highly appropriate as this album plays out from the opening 'III) Ascension' through to 'III) Prologue' which is the closing curtain. I was exhausted by the time 'Catalyst' finished thanks to the complex arrangements and the vocal delivery which exhibited rough and growling vocals with some cleaner cut vocal deliveries.
On the first track, you get that jarring and stuttering heavy guitar which stomps all over some delicate electro-style dabbling. Melancholy vocals swirl over the instrumentation and then we head for 'Zenith'. Incidentally, there's a music video for this single as well.
There must be something in the waters over there in Australia, as the brutality is raised a notch or two with 'I) Escaping The Cornucopia'. Once your ears have collected a sense of normality you are assaulted by 'I) Synthetic Zion'. This sits very nicely on the album. Despite the brilliant musicianship and possibly the temptation to make these tracks go on and on lasting an eternity, the band wisely takes the compact approach and they don't exceed four minutes and fifty seven seconds.
Both 'II) Mirrors' and 'III) Serescape' continue the ebb and flow of what is a pure exercise in artistic expression for those darker emotions. 'II) Reflections' is a breath of fresh air as it opens with an audible equivalent of an open car window on a warm, still summer day. Conjuring pleasant images it slowly mutates in to a crawling spider that is fighting for breath. A real highlight amongst the musical debris that they lay waste to.
'I) Apostle' leaps around like an excited child initially before it deciphers the inner groove yearning to break out. Finally, 'III) Prologue' arrives to send one last punch across the face. At least that's what I expected, but instead my ears were greeted with a solemn instrumental.
Australia is known for their Rock n'Roll bands who sing about conquests, addictions and the music that makes their hearts beat, but this band are something completely different. Highlights like 'II) Zenith' and 'II) Reflections' have made me really dig deep to understand them, and give this album time to settle.
It's not a manufactured and shrewd sound that will make your ears dance with just one spin; in fact it won't make them dance at all. This is art sculpted out of the darker emotions that lurk in every single one of us if we were brave enough to admit it. 'Catalyst' is an album that needs time and care before you realise how good it truly is.
1. III) Ascension
2. II) Zenith
3. I) Escaping The Cornucopia
4. I) Synthetic Zion
5. II) Mirrors
6. III) Serescape
7. II) Reflections
8. I) Apostle
9. III) Prologue