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Cataract - Kingdom Review

by Mark Hensch

Sometimes all you need in a crowd is the will to trample everyone else beneath you. Such is the way of things for Swtizerland's brutal Cataract outfit; in a world where metalcore is so utterly pervasive as to be virtually universal, the band gets by not by playing something better than metalcore, but rather playing metalcore better than anyone else. Equally interesting to note is the "survival-of-the-fittest" mantra this release oozes like putrid slime; I think most bands realize that metalcore is a crowded bubble expanding before that final burst, and bands like Cataract, Unearth, As I Lay Dying, and so on are looking for a way to survive the eventual apocalypse.

So what will keep Cataract afloat? Much like their Teutonic neighbors in Heaven Shall Burn and Caliban perhaps, the Europeans have developed a brawny, especially vicious brand of metalcore that makes the more emotional, melodic strand popular here sound even less intense. Further distancing themselves from the pack, Cataract inject healthy passages of quasi-thrash not unlike The Haunted, Lamb of God, or recent Himsa into the mix, the end result being riffs several times more blistering than the start-stop clap trap guitaring most bands seem to favor (I'm looking at you, Norma Jean). In a final twist, Cataract choose to sprinkle their lyrics with biting socio-political commentary, the likes of which set them apart surprisingly well and really divide them from other bands who are only concerned with issues requiring a hell of a lot less maturity.

As for the music itself, little can be faulted here. If I had to describe it, I'd probably say the more blistering passages of Unearth combined with the spirit of thrash bands like Slayer, and even a little mid-tempo death metal via Bolt Thrower, mid-period Napalm Death, etc etc. Don't let those references throw you off; this is metalcore by-and-by, with the usual amount of massive breakdowns and group vocals shouted in fiery unison. There seems to be a fierce slant of colonialism/imperialism/globalism intellectual dissection here, with tracks like "War of Cultures," "March With Your Battleforce," and "Sacrificed for the Wealth" all attacking such concepts with a bitter, jaded isolationism that only the neutral Swiss could have produced.

While on that front, "War of Cultures" is a literal hand-grenade via your speakers, and I'd also like to point out the brutal "Sacrificed for the Wealth" as having some fantastic drum barrages over churning riffs. Producer Tue Madsen (who recently put out the new Himsa album, and is in Swedish death metal legends Hypocrisy) shines with his duties here, where songs like "Definition of the Sacred" and "Tongues Spitting Hate" pulse with a malicious rage as crunchy, full riffs are spewed into your ears. Thick, meaty, and covered in blood, all of it sounds like a million bucks. I'd definitely wager the new producer as a high point of the band's ever expanding nuances, as it really adds a lot to their visceral fury.

I know metalcore is becoming an increasingly tough sell for most of you out there due to its trendy and oversaturated nature, but if you must (and I mean absolutely must) check out an album from said genre, Kingdom is as solid a buy as anything else you're likely to get. It is also a lot smarter and heavier too. All-in-all, you can't have a Kingdom without some Kings and Cataract are definitely the monarchs of this genre. Hail to the kings indeed.

Track Listing
1. Kingdom's Rise
2. War of Cultures
3. On This Graveyard
4. Denial of Life
5. Tongues Spitting Hate
6. March With Your Battleforce
7. Sacrificed for the Wealth
8. Definition of the Sacred
9. Legions at the Gates
10. Unforgotten
11. For Their Sins

CD Info and Links

Cataract - Kingdom

Label:Metal Blade

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