Released: 2014, Galy Records
Alberta Assault! In early 2014 Calgary, Alberta will be hosting the WACKEN METAL BATTLE. This contest has regional acts perform to audiences and judges who then decide who gets to go further in the contest, with the winner getting a trip to perform at Wacken. This is a good a time as any to do my bi-annual, quick, regional round-up of releases from Alberta Metal bands. Even though not all of these bands may be competing in WMB, I’d like to thank the bands who provided review copies for me for my radio show and Metal-Rules.com. The bands are Armifera, Black Pestilence, Bloated Pig, Enemyus, Exit Strategy, Ides Of Winter, Kataplexis, Misanthropy, Scythia, Throne Of Vengeance, Trollband, Vile Insignia and Villainizer. Please feel free to check out the other reviews in this feature.
Kataplexis is one of Calgary’s bright lights and a local minor success story. Their 2008 debut EP was well received and the band caught the ears and eyes of CDN Records in Ontario. CDN released their 2010 full-length debut, INSURRECTION. The band is continuing their upward trajectory as they have made the jump to the international label Galy Records home of such heavyweights as Anonymus and Martyr. It is a good fit because the new album of technical death-grind, simply called DOWNPOUR, fits right into the Galy roster.
DOWNPOUR came out early in 2014 and is an eleven song, 28 minute assault on the senses. The package is blacker than black with a booklet that is minimalistic but visually effective with it’s tiny white print on black. No band photos and the lyrics are hard to read band I’m still trying to figure out what the squid-dude on the front cover is, but over all it is an attractive and well done package.
Musically the album lays waste from the opening second. I like the way the songs are mastered with virtually no break between the cuts, you don’t even have a second to catch your breath. The vocals are extremely harsh with a mix of death growl and a bit more a grind/black shriek type. The whole album is fast, blasts, hyper-blasts, mega-blasts, gravity-blasts, there is so much blasting going I don’t even know what to call it any more! Drummer Dave Callahan puts on a clinic. There are plenty of technical elements in the excellent performances but the band is wise enough to keep the energy up and not make too many weird changes and stop-starts can, at times, interrupt the flow of a good head bang. The production is also very good, clear, loud with good guitar tones. I would like to see a few more ripping solos; I’m a fan of flashy solos but I also realize that this dark record may not be the right environment for such flair.
Kataplexis are certainly one of Calgary’s heaviest bands in a scene that is loaded with really intense crushing music. DOWNPOUR is an admirable sophomore effort and an appropriate title is truly a downpour of dark death grind.