Released: 2011, Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Let me say one thing first. MONUMENTAL, which is this Ohio-based Catch 22´s 5th studio album, is a quite disappointing, even letdown album from the band. Now if you feel you like it´s all summed up in those two lines and there´s no point to read this review any further, I think there´s no blame on you for that either.
Catch 22´s sound has basically been coined around traditional heavy/power/thrash metal a lá Priest, Maiden, Iced Earth, Metal Church, etc. – and they even often get compared to these aforementioned names musically. On MONUMETAL it´s T.J. Barry on vocals and all guitars and Jason Antil on bass and backing vocals who create the main backbone for the record, having also Steve Strahler on session drums.
Don´t know what has happened to T.J. Barry´s efforts to put together a bunch of good songs creative-wise, but the content of this album appears to be pretty lifeless and even dull, which is something that amazes me to be honest. I did enjoy Catch 22´s previous double album release, titled SOULREAPER: EVILUTION/DEVILUTION, quite a lot – liking the mix of 80´s metal in it and feeling like the main primus motor of the band, T.J. Berry on vocals and guitar, is the man to really carry things out with Catch 22. But something is really seriously missing from the band´s last effort MONUMETAL. The songs overall have some nice groove to them, and in addition, some catchy and even memorable parts carrying some songs quite far (like the Maiden/Iced Earth-flavored song “Catch 22”), but unfortunately most of them make you feel like the guys have just gathered together for some relaxing jamming sessions a couple of times only – and then used their home studio to record everything down for MONUMETAL, which they wanted to be their 5th full-length studio opus.
I don´t even mean to be harsh by saying all this, those remained as my primary thoughts anyway after giving a justifiable amount of listens to this record. I was neither too happy nor too thrilled about the outcome of songs on this release. Seems like the band has lost something vital in between all their previous releases and this record (a stable lineup might perhaps make things better: the more skilled guys you have in a band lineup, the more good and worthy ideas you may get). All in all, the songs sound kinda uninspired and lazy structure-wise – and would definitely need more sharpness and viciousness to them. Where are the blistering and wicked solos and frenzied guitar attacks that they used to cultivate on their previous releases? Where has T.J. Berry left his screaming yet so awesome high-pitched vocalism that had so much effect on the band´s sound after all? Where´s their burning ambition to write some really catchy and hook-filled songs that used to stick in your brain even on first listen? I want all that back in their records – and happen to know already I´m not alone with that type of wish list in my hands.
MONUMETAL can be forgiven to the guys this time, but their next album had better be more than just kickass. This record was an unfortunate backlash in Catch 22´s otherwise so fine album roster thus far. A pity, I would like to add.