Review: “The Bestiary” by Cyclops Cataract

As the Winter of discontent approached with the World gripped by a Great Plague, five like minded individuals were brought together by unearthly forces plot the downfall of man as Cyclops Cataract. They started with  “Swallow The World” that aligns the planets of Death and Black Metal to create a eclipse that shrouds the planet in the cover of darkness. Nine months on with the pungent smell of rotting flesh in the air Craig Sinkins (Vocals), Scott Hogg (Guitar, Keyboard), James Dron (Guitar), Mark Robertson (Bass) and Chris Wilkie (Drums) have returned. Not triumphant warriors but the five horsemen of the apocalypse, sent forth to do complete the devils work. Inking a deal in blood with Planet K Records (Kneel, Hadal, Devistating Light) for their debut album “The Bestiary“ they have conjured forth a concept record with each song depicting a different creature based on Scottish folklore and legend, from the Orcadian legends of the selkies in ‘Second Skin’ to the villainous redcap of the Southern borders in ‘Crimson Wrath’…

…and as the great wings of the phoenix unfurl and it takes to flight, we are treated to an Avant Garde album of epically gargantuan proportions. Knowing no borders or boundaries, Cyclops Cataract have produced a stunningly cinematic piece of work that takes ideas from a variety of Metal sub-genres and fuses them together to create their own composite mythological creature like tracks. Each one is full of ideas that move away from any form of song structure, simply flowing like a river to the sea in order to tell their tales with dramatic tempo shifts and impressive dynamics in fleeting moments within those confines as it stretches the imagination of the listener. Pushing the boundaries of what constitutes Metal, while painting with the very fabric of space and time, Cyclops Cataract have created a truly mind bending album. On first listen you may not be taken with the spoken word of “Beginnings” but persisting through that oddity brings you to the overflowing chalice of blood wine that is the rest of the album. No cut is simple or straightforward with moments of Death Metal, Black Metal and Grindcore all flowing together and that is without mentioning the Progressive, Ambient or programmed moments that are also weaved into the DNA. “Crimson Wrath” for example plays out like an Alfred Hitchcock movie with phycological moments of ambient synth blending into the abject horror of the ear splitting vocals brutal riffs. “The Unforgiven Dead” has a ripper of a lead part towards the end as well as riffs that border on Tech-Metal and harp sample to close with finesse while “Second Skin” has all the melancholic lament of a Finnish Melodic Death Doom soundscape coupled with rampant blast beats. They perhaps take influence from the work of bands like Imperial Triumphant, Azusa and even Between The Buried And Me with easy comparisons between “The Bestiary” and the critically acclaimed “Alphaville”, it falls into the same category as that piece of ground breaking work as it shape shifts and contorts. This is not the kind of work you simply put on the in background, but an album that you get lost in as it is completely enthralling, gripping and complex from start of finish [8.5/10]

  1. Beginnings (2:21)
  2. Baobhan Sith (3:51)
  3. Hatred Forever (6:28)
  4. The Devil of the Sea (7:31)
  5. Crimson Wrath (5:35)
  6. The Unforgiven Dead (4:47)
  7. Second Skin (10:51)
  8. Venemous Serpent (3:20)
  9. The Beast’s Fill (3:21)
  10. The Final Night (6:11)
  11. Endings (4:15)

The Bestiary” by Cyclops Cataract is out 5th June 2021 via Planet K Records and available over at bandcamp

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