A four piece Metal band from Dundee, Scotland who formed in late 2016 and has issued a pair of EPs to date in 2017’s “Into The Unknown” and 2018’s self-titled, Catalysis are a band with firm roots in Thrash. Having spent 2019 writing their debut full length and sharing stages with the likes of Gutlocker, Godeater and Harbinger as well as making a trip to Belgium for their first foray into Europe, the band have tapped up a pair of big name guests to appear on “Connection Lost“. What’s interesting about that is that neither of them are a vocalist, Catalysis instead opting to bring in a pair of six string legends in Phil Demmel of Vio-Lence and formerly Machine Head as well as Joey Radziwill of Sacred Reich.
Ripping opener “Conquer and Devour” very much sets the tone and crosses territories of Thrash, Metalcore and even Death Metal as it plays out with the kind slick style that the likes of Bleed From Within have brought to the Kings table, the slick solo and rampant verses a shot across the bows. “Devils in the Panic Room” builds on that with some seriously pummeling groove and burning intensity that confirms that the band have the rage to overcome all obstacles in their path, the viciousness of the vocals having an extra bite in this one. The first of the aforementioned guest appearances is on “Drowning in My Head” which sees Phil Demmel of Vio-Lence and formerly Machine Head join the party. Bright lead parts reminiscent of early 2000’s era Metalcore bands like It Dies Today or even As I Lay Dying are a highlight while a couple of clean vocal parts are a pleasant surprise given the aggressive nature of the uncleans. The solo is tight and there is the first moment of accenting in those vocals in which you can hear that they are a Scottish outfit – the majority of the vocals having an American styled twang to them. It’s not a problem either way. Speaking of someone hiding behind the digital mask of the Internet Age is in title track “Connection Lost” brings the relevance of here and now to the lyrics cutting a fine balance as it rages through, breakdown heavy with a solid chugging guitar tone and a whammy bar drop lead moment that makes it a stand out cut.
Slowing things down for a mid tempo mid album cut in “Brother” steps away from the pure energy and aggression for a moment and shows that the band have something else in their collective armory. Using a little more of the clean vocals and some almost spoken word parts, they create a classic Metal track that builds into some bigger riffs in the final quarter. “Just Turn Back” was released as a single a year before the album and is full of socially aware lyrics that cut humanity back down to size with some Jamey Jasta esq Hatebreed styled vocal delivery and a cathedral of guitar work with rampant riffs and a sense of urgency throughout. The second guest appearance is from Joey Radziwill of Sacred Reich on “A Bridge Too Far” which has some distinctive crossover Thrash leanings. Using layering of clean and unclean through the chorus and then bark and bite switches in the verse changes up the vocals nicely, giving the track a point of difference that doesn’t stray too far from the bands overall sound. Stepping back in to an early 90’s sound “City of the Dead” is the clenched fist of Death Metal until a clean vocal drop off that builds into a bright solo. Another socially aware piece, it’s a headbangers dream with tank like slow rumble through the city.
Tearing down your blue skies, “Reborn” manages to balance on a knife edge between the melodic and the heavy without losing any of its energy. The most clean vocals on the album by some considerable length and a modern Melodic Death Metal solo make it a fine addition. If it had closed the album then it might have seemed tacked on but it’s positioning makes for a moment of respite before the stomp of “Sentinel” burns down your house. A darker cut so swirling, brooding dark moods, it’s the hand from the black depths that reaches out and drags you in, kicking and screaming. Relentless drum patterns are the mainstay of “Tomb for the Torn” which has real attitude with Groove Metal stylings before a Black Metal blast beat and demonic vocal section that is jaw dropping bursts into face melter of a solo. It’s then that things take a wobble. The final track “A Version of the Truth” starts with a wonderful, mournful acoustic melody that builds into some big atmospherics… and then we get a spoken word rap that comes out of nowhere. Its a experiment that doesn’t work in what is otherwise a solid cut with plenty of sing-a-long parts and an arena filling sounds with some The Raven Age moments [8/10]
Conquer and Devour
Devils in the Panic Room
Drowning In My Head (ft. Phil Demmel of Vio-Lence, ex-Machine Head)
Just Turn Back
A Bridge Too Far (ft. Joey Radziwill of Sacred Reich)
City of the Dead
Tomb for the Torn
A Version of the Truth
“Connection Lost” by Catalysis is out 24th July and available for pre-order here