Review: “Relicta” by Catalysis

The words “highly anticipated” are used all too often in many circles but when it comes to the latest offering from Catalysis they are the understatement of the year. In 2020 the band raised the bar with their debut full length album “Connection Lost” after a pair of EPs and brought with them a pair of six string legends in Phil Demmel of Vio-Lence and formerly Machine Head as well as Joey Radziwill of Sacred Reich. Returning once again to Death Metal legend Mendel Bij De Leij formerly of Aborted to mix and master “Relicta” as he did both of the bands previous two well received records is the most obvious thing that the Dundee Scotland based Groove Thrash masters could have done and as the theory goes, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Dispensing with the need for any guests this time around, the quartet who consist of Col MacGregor (vocals), Drew Cochrane (lead guitar and vocals) Sean Ramson (guitar and vocals) and Calum Rennie (drums) only used the facilities of Strait Up Studios to record drums, doing everything else in house…

…which has absolutely no impact on the quality on show here. The band are fired up, urgent and aggressive from the very beginning of “A New Way To Die” with scorching Thrash riffs a plenty and some really good use of vocal layering to back some clean parts with uncleans to bolster them before throwing in a majestic solo. Catalysis have a swagger about them here and have refined their sound, sanding off the rough edges and sharpening up their hooks and clean vocal melodies and cuts like “Don’t Look Down” with its stompy bouncing riffs are all the better for it being more of a scream-a-long anthem than a pit starter. The mixing from Mendel Bij De Leij has left the EP with a crisp and clean sound, his knowledge of the genre making “Relicta” stand out like a bloody nose. Harnessing the Groove Metal influences of bands like Pantera and Lamb Of God for “Forgiven Not Forgotten“, MacGregor delivers a vocal performance with incredible finesse as using multiple voices attacking from all directions provide a depth and texture that is second to none, so he’ll need to make good use of the rest of the band when they take these songs to the stage. The story of the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl that is “Laid To Waste” makes for a the perfect theme for a vicious little ditty and they do it justice with a storming cut, bridging the gap between Thrash and Death Metal in the finest possible way. It brings the story to life in a way that makes it more accessible as one of the most horrendous man made disasters this century which is exactly what you want from something like this. Cochrane on the other hand delivers his finest solo in the powerhouse of pure aggression that is “The Point Of No Return“, a fierce cut about the horrors of depression that is as bleak as is it violent. There are points where it threatens to fall into the Nu-Metal introspective vocals but instead they hold back and remain in the periphery as if standing on the edge of the abyss looking down. Whether it is deliberate or not, the track ordering means the solos seem to get longer the higher the track number meaning that the finale is something really special. A sizzling follow up to the brilliance of “Connection Lost” that simply throws fuel on an already raging inferno, “Relicta” should have the likes of Sumerian Records calling and looking to take the band to the US to make their name [8/10]

Track listing

  1. A New Way To Die
  2. Don’t Look Down
  3. Forgiven Not Forgotten
  4. Laid To Waste
  5. The Point Of No Return
  6. Exit Loop (Before Expression Is False)

Relicta” by Catalysis is out 17th September 2021 and is available for pre-order here.

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