Released: 2008, Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Catch 22 is a relatively unknown metal group from Marietta, Ohio, that was formed in 1992. The band has released 4 full-length albums thus far, of which 3 were released on their own. Catch 22´s latest album, 22-song effort titled SOULREAPER: EVILUTION/DEVILUTION, was originally released under the SOULREAPER VOL.1 title - and with only 11 songs, the band tried to hunt down a decent label to release the whole package for them, the guys not having the funding to put it out by themselves. The label hunt paid off for Catch 22 finally. In 2008 Italian Metal On Metal Records became interested in releasing the band´s original 22-track effort, having all the "Soulreaper" sessions on 2 separate CDS, re-organized and put together.
Musically we can talk about some pretty catchy and hook-filled and well done ´80s-tinged American metal here that contains some certain flavors from the NWOBHM (Priest, Maiden, etc.) as well. The band combines quite cleverly heavy/power/thrash metal together, making their songs tastier than any appetizer served in some restaurant of the finest-star hotel. Their musical influences range from such bands as Savatage, Iced Earth, Judas Priest, Jag Panger and the like, but surely there´s even more names popping up to my mind when spinning these 2 discs over and over again. T.J. Berry, who is the band´s guitar playing vocalist, has got a very wide range of vocal styles; from quite impressive low growls to those high-pitched vocal registers ála Rob Halford. He can adjust his vocals into the songs really nicely, too - whatever types of vocals are needed in one part, or the other part. Also, when the whole backbone of the band consists of 2 good guitarists, one bass virtuoso and drummer who knows what to do behind his artillery, the band is clearly on safe waters that keep their ship away from sinking into the bottomless grave of forgotten bands.
They have got some really good, but also not that good songs recorded on these 2 discs. But the main problem for me was actually the fact this album tends to be too long. 22 songs for just one album is a little bit too much in my opinion. They should have chosen like - let´s say 10-12 best songs for this album, to make it a tighter and more distinguished sounding package. I think that way they would have caused far more interest amongst record buying people than releasing all these 22 songs together on this double CD package.
Nevertheless, it´s no denying that Catch 22 can sound very entertaining at best, combining some of the best elements of American heavy, power and thrash metal, harking strongly back to the ´80s period of metal. Then again, it´s also important to think through whether releasing all these 22 songs on 1 release was that necessary after all when you could have done it with less songs and with the word ´quality´ stamped over it.