Scottish metalheads Catalysis are certainly making a name for themselves in the UK as safe-handed onstage purveyors of what the blessed Shakin’ Stevens would have called ‘a rockin’ good time’; I’ve not seen the band live yet, but I’ve no reason to doubt the live reports I’ve heard. On the recorded front too, they have their moments, but there are times on their new release, Betrayer, that make for very heavy going indeed.
The first half of the album gets mired in a samey death/thrash funk, never really going anywhere over the course of five slabs of heavy if serviceable Kreator-styled raving. It’s not offensive, obviously – this is a band that clearly knows it’s arse from it’s elbow, instrument-wise – but it doesn’t inspire.
By contrast, the remainder of the album, kicking off with already-released single Mea Culpa, sees the band spreading the creative wings a little and throwing in a few slight left turns and curveballs which keeps the listener on his or her toes wondering where things are heading. It still remains within the parameters set in the first half, largely, but there’s an added oomph – an X-factor if you will – that sends a jolt through the material that seems missing through the early tracks.
The out-and-out modern thrash of Never Unseen positions Catalysis as real pretenders to the Brit metal throne; Colin MacGregor gives a fine vocal performance, whilst the guitars of Drew Cochrane and Sean Ramson set up a squall of righteous noise underneath. ‘What’s seen can’t be unseen’ shouts MacGregor at one point; That’s applicable to what’s heard too, and from what I’m hearing on this track at least we’ve got a live prospect on our hands with this band, once they manage to sort the wheat from the chaff material wise.
But for all my reservations, this is clearly a group of young metal practitioners on the up – good luck to them!
Betrayer is out now.