Reviewed: February 2009
Released: 2008, Stillborn Records
Reviewer: Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus
I will openly admit that I do not enjoy hardcore-derived “metal” of any brand. Call me prejudiced, elitist, etc., but this hybrid subgenre has never appealed to me and likely never will. It’s just not my thing, and repeated exposure to it only deepens my dislike. Orlando-based deathcore band Catalepsy’s full-length debut INIQUITY may not be particularly good or bad compared any other typical deathcore release, but I have issues with this album that transcend my inborn distaste for the genre.
For starters, the production on INIQUITY is sloppy and unbalanced. All of Ben Sutton’s drums are soaked in a dull 80’s reverb, giving them a drum-machine quality that doesn’t fit with the raw, brutal vibe that Catalepsy is desperately seeking. In songs “Trust” and “Dethroat,” the drums and guitars appear to lose synch during some turgid breakdown sections. Sloppiness like that has no place in a modern recording environment. The bland guitars sound like a belching pig being suffocated in mud (and I mean this in a bad way,) and the unremarkable hardcore-style vocals stick out too far in the mix like a buzzing fluorescent light in a dark hallway.
Most of the song contained on INIQUITY are too similar to distinguish themselves from each other. Fast openings with some double bass or blastbeats usually deteriorate into an inevitable breakdown, all accompanied to detuned, atonal guitars that strain to sound dissonant and aggressive. Ron Conover’s vocals strive to sound angry and hateful, but repeatedly vomiting the word “FUCK” only goes so far, especially when combined with the mercilessly overused lyrical topic of generically angsty anti-religious sentiment.
Despite repeated spins and a fundamental desire to find at least one redeeming quality contained in this depressingly awful record, I have come up empty-handed. The sole bright spot is outro track “Dethroat,” where Catalepsy introduces some pleasantly unexpected tempo and mood changes throughout the song, with some technical tremolo riffing that would fit well in modern black metal. Still, it’s too little too late to save this album.
I realize that the main function of hardcore-derived “metal” is to afford socially challenged, hyper-aggressive males the opportunity to slam dance each other into bloody pulps, but that does not excuse how uninspired and lackluster Catalepsy’s INIQUITY sounds to a less forgiving ear that isn’t interested in a mosh pit bludgeoning. Dedicated fans of this subgenre may find something of worth, but despite my best efforts, I cannot.
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