Wednesday, February 16, 2005 @ 11:35 PM
(Metal Blade Records)
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No offense to the many killer bands that comprise this genre, but hearing of a new metalcore release is almost painful nowadays. Perhaps it became too easy for bands with an identity crisis to jump on a bandwagon which presented itself with all-too-easy formats, and a ready-made fan base. From a marketing perspective, I suppose metalcore is the best thing to happen to the scene in quite some time with its ability to pull in two different concert-goers: the 15-year-old backpack-wearing straight-edge kid, and the long-haired elbows-folded twenty-something metalhead. Disillusionment is always nagging when things become so detrimentally clear-cut and polished.
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That being said, such is not the case with Cataract. While the album has been out on Metal Blade since fall of ‘04, it unfortunately slipped past my attention until recently. I was floored. Suddenly, metalcore made sense again. Cataract has not reinvented the wheel or shrugged off their genre, but have made it their own. Standing tall above many if not all of the other releases from the past year or so in this style, this one has what others lack. First, no whiny choruses pollute the songs with lamentations of the dying leaves or despair of lost childhood love. Be thankful Cataract has kept the emo out of metal. Instead, With Triumph Comes Loss pummels the listener from beginning to end.
One would be hard-pressed to offer any sonic example of the band’s European (Swiss, in fact) heritage upon listening to it, as the album sounds almost exclusively American. At the end of the day brutality is the key word here. Of course there is the tempo shift between more Slayer-inspired verses and hardcore-influenced breakdowns, but damn, it sounds fresh. Yes, fresh. Like Hatebreed, the intensity is constant and actually more on the metal side of things were it not for the overall vibe. Cataract, however, takes Hatebreed a step further. The riffs are nastier, the drums are faster, and the singer is just as pissed off.
As mentioned before, Cataract has not formulated some unheard of sound, but tapped into the greatness of a scene that was becoming way too stale way too fast. Inevitably, many will soon be taking notes from Cataract.