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Released: 2003, Molten Metal USA Records
This CD came to me with no bio or band information whatsoever, and the band’s website isn’t a whole lot more informative as to the origins of the band, so I’ll just skip all of the usual preamble and jump right in. This album is pure screaming heavy metal, 80s style. Their main influence is clearly classic Judas Priest, but with a CRUCIBLE/CHEMICAL WEDDING-esque weightiness in the guitars. But it’s SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE that wins the day in this band’s collective hearts. In fact when it comes time for the high note screams, vocalist T.J. Berry can dog-whistle it almost as well as the Metal God himself, despite the fact that his “normal” voice is an awesome low growl. Impressive!
Opening with their best metallic barrage, “Betrayal of the Masses”, Catch 22 blazes through 13 anthems in a little over an hour. For me, the best songs come early as tracks one through six are the highlights, especially the mid-paced grind of “Damaged”. The album begins to wander a bit in the middle section, with songs dragging on ever so slightly. It picks up again for the “Where Darkness is Divine” trilogy (the last three songs on the disc), finishing with a big bang in “Face Your Fate”, a melodic metal stomper in the Iced Earth vein.
Throughout, Berry’s lyrics are thoughtful and introspective, dealing with the world’s myriad problems. He clearly feels a strong attachment to his words as you can hear the conviction in his pained roar. Luckily he is equally matched by the rest of the band, ripping and tearing the riffs into bloody pulp.
AWAKEN is definitely one of 2003’s North American metal highlights and it should go a long way to establishing Catch 22 as a serious contender. Given the opportunity, these guys will dent a LOT of heads.
1) Betrayal of the Masses
4) The Suffering
5) Into the Black
6) Blood on the Bricks
9) Wicked from the Womb
11) As Twilight Descends
12) The Otherside
13) Face Your Fate (The Calling)
T.J. Berry: Lead Vocals, Guitars
D. Hall: Guitars, Backing Vocals
Mike Allen: Bass, Backing Vocals
Andy Brookhart: Drums, Backing Vocals
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