Nottingham Old Angel
October 29 1999
Both the support bands pulled out for whatever reasons, so tonight it's just left to Catharsis. Surely the best and most obvious name for any band doing the alternative woe is me thing. And quite refreshing in attitude. Unlike most bands that get on stage and then whimper about the monitors being a little out "just a tweak, more, more less, waaaahhhhhhhhhhhh I'm going to cwy and cwy", Catharsis just don't bother with them. Well, if they're going to piss you off, it would seem the obvious thing right!
The bassist looks like he could be a serial killer, the guitarists and drummer should be in high school (they're American see, no comprehensives for them) and the vocalist spends no time on stage and is shrouded in darkness, just popping up immediately in your face everynow and again. The bassist is doing similar.
Musically, well what do you reckon with a name like that? It's pummeling kind of metal hardcore ish sort of thing, loads of lovely double bass drumming and true to form, there's a song in there with a riff straight from the Slayer school of riff-stealing. The vocals are a bit low to make much out, but though it's not sung, it's still not an entire yay fest. Coming all the way from the States to do a fortnights gigs, you have to admire their resolves, especially faced with people going "get on with it" and "you said the same thing last song" when our shrouded vocalist tries to say something. Well yeah, bands should come al l that way just to say fuck all shouldn't they. You've gone all the way to the pub, and you just say the same thing all the time yourself. Especially when the guy is rightly pointing out that the whole hardcore scene thing is nothing if it's just a scene to be seen in. You've got to do something to an extent. It's over in about 25 short minutes, but I was suitably impressed. Whether that means fuck all of course is a different matter, because some people obviously weren't, which is why they were exercising their new found additions to their vocabulary. Yeah, get on with it you lot, get on with it.
Meathook Seed - B.I.B.L.E.
I mean, to be fair the inclusion of the Out singer Christophe Lamouret on this release caused me to worry. I've not heard their album, just a sampler, and it was tooo nu-metal. Luckily on this release the guy demonstrates more of individuality than normally seen.
Anyway, to the music. The first track Civilise The World is glorious, the name Voivod springing to mind constantly. It's just got that slightly dischordant feel to it, but it's also full of melody. There's no vocals or lyrics as such, just some background noises. It twists and turns it's way through things. A great start. Maybe too great. Can it maintain the momentum?
Oh yeah. Elemental is one of those that uses that bloody annoying "make you thinkthe CD is skipping" blankouts - you know, like on Garbage's Supoervixen. Yeah, but the vocals - those things I was worried, ah man, what a great melody and hook he's got going on here. It's definitely reminiscent of something. As is the music, that riff, Iíve heard something very similar. The feel is kind of like a Rob Zombie sort of thing, with slightly electronic sounding drums, and samples mixing perfectly with the guitars. What, come on Dave, think. Cos I can make an arse of myself here, it's like I can almost picture the song it reminds me of, but I can't recognise it. Argh. It's great though this one. Now it's got to take a dip after this opening. It has to. This oneís a classic song. Iíve got to stop putting it on repeat and listen to the rest of the album as well.
And yeah, it does a bit. Push Away feels merely competant by comparison. I Think You Lie is full of clattering drums and samples, giving it a thorougly modern feel but without being a parody of anything. It's not bad, it's very good, but those opening tracks were sublime. This time round the melodies and hooks are a little more restrained, but it's still highly melodic and and yet adventurous enough. Beautiful has another hugely melodic catchy vocal, offset against one of the heaviest riffs on the album. Itís an album that shows that heavy can mix and sit comfortably with melodic. That metal and technology can be bedfellows, and that modern rock music isnít really in such a dire state as some people would like to have you believe.
Dumb Show opens with squealing guitars, I thought it was something likes seals having been sampled for a minute there, a more "nu" style riff, bouncy, but that Voivod influence I reckon creeps in again half way through. The Ladder is all electronics married with a subtle tribal like drum pattern. Dunno what ambient trance music sounds like, but itís as if it could be getting on for that kind of territory. Short but sweet. Black Sky chugs along in its wake, all distortion and lifting the tempo.
Lost In A Box finishes it all off, all lilting kind of violins and stuff. not heavy, but very very nice. The sort of thing I like, and is increasingly appealing to me these days. As one form of music gets stale, thereís always something else that comes along to give you a slap round the chops with a wet kipper, and this sort of atmosphere stuff is whatís doing it for me at the moment. But thereís an irritating "final uncredited track."
If the thought that this project involves Napalm Death personnel, or a "nu-metal" singer puts you off, donít let it. Because itís nothing like either of those two. Melodic, classy, and very very good. But whatís that track Elemental reminds me of. Bollocks, thatís going to bug me and be playing in my mind for the rest of this bloody issue now. Actually, Elemental to me is the best "pop" song not released as a single from the year. Not pop as in pop, but just the melody and everything about the song would to me have made a perfect single. Course it wouldn't have dented the charts, but that's to do with something other than quality after all.
Available on DreamCatcher Records.