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5 Song Demo
Released: 2004, Independent
Norway is mainly known in the metal world as the land of frostbitten black metal. If you look beyond, there are other bands and styles. In terms of classic 80’s metal, they are still “making them as they used to” in Norway…at least they are in the form of Cat Eye. Many bands make nods to this era but not so many sound exactly as if they stepped out of a time machine. So is this a good thing? It depends on two things. First, the band has to be great and second, you probably already have to love the popular metal bands of the 80’s. Those bands would be Dio, Dokken, Lee Aaron, Whitesnake, Cinderella, L.A. Guns, and many of the other hard rockin’ metal bands. With Cat Eye you have a great band and with this reviewer you have someone who still listens to 80’s metal along with new stuff so right away I liked what Cat Eye were all about.
Right away praise needs to be given to the lead vocalist Ida Haukland of Cat Eye…she is a metal god. She can stand shoulder to shoulder with other great classic metal female singers like Doro and Lee Aaron. She is a mixture of Ronnie James Dio and a little METAL QUEEN-era Lee Aaron. In other words, she is an excellent vocalist with lots of power along with a rougher edge. The 5-track demo opens with a Dokken inspired riff that immediately sets the tone and brought a smile to my face. The title is a bit cheesy, but so was many things about popular metal in the 80’s…and that title is “Backseat Queen”. This is perhaps the best track on the CD and was well chosen as the opener. “The Will To Carry On” is a power ballad which is again made great by Ida’s vocals. At a few places (i.e. the line “sadness and confusion) she sounds like a female version of Dio. Despite my dislike of most ballads or slower songs, this one is above par. Øystein Kvile Hanssen plays a great solo filled with feeling. The track “Goin’ Down” starts with a seemingly simple riff and then the drums come in at with unexpected tempo and fury. Drummer Magne Johan Nyberg gets to show his stuff in this one. You can really hear the bass of Alf Inge “Affen” Eitrheim here as well, which is a good thing since bass is often buried. All this makes “Goin’ Down” runner up for best song on this demo. “Broken Heart” starts out with some boring clean guitar stuff before it goes into a mid-paced hard rock feel. The solo in this one at places didn’t fit with the drums and bass and sounded empty and too laid back while the leads are ripping over the top…not a perfect match but not bad. “Wicked Woman” has the best lead playing on the CD but it again sounds a bit empty with just bass and drums in the background patiently waiting for the lead guitarist to finish blowing his load so they can get back to playing the song. The harmony parts of the leads here sound killer though. Perhaps they need to do something more inventive in the background and a rhythm guitar here would plug the hole. These criticisms are minor though and are easy to correct.
Cat Eye are onto something here and if the right people hear this and get behind it, the band could go somewhere. So many bands from the 80’s have reformed and tour on nostalgia alone. Thankfully, there are bands like Cat Eye who are injecting new blood and songs into the style instead of milking it to death in tribute bands, or worse, with bands that reunite and release best of albums and get huge world tours. If those old dogs are not going to write meaningful new material, then they need to step aside for hungry bands like Cat Eye who deserve the attention.
1. Backseat Queen
2. The Will To Carry On
3. Goin' Down
4. Broken Heart
5. Wicked Woman
Ida Haukland – Vocals
Øystein Kvile Hanssen – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Alf Inge “Affen” Eitrheim – Bass
Magne Johan Nyberg – Drums
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