Reviewed: February 2019
Released: 2019, Ferocity Records
Reviewer: Demitri Levantis
Swedish alternative metal act We Are The Catalyst describe themselves in their press release as being ‘a light in the dark for those who need it most.’ Well, if that light is one of pure annoyance and disgust, and a horrid trip down memory lane to the days of post-grunge and boring alternative rock with bland electronica thrown in, then that was definitely the case for this critic.
To begin with, new album ‘Ephemeral’ starts with a track that does not bode well from the first chord: the guitars are blurry and sound mangled up against some dull synthesisers and keys whilst vocalist Cat Fey wails out some extremely dull vocals that made me want to skip to the next tack, but had to bear for the sake of this review.
Cast your mind back to the early noughties when bands like Hoobastank and The Calling were taking fairly decent alternative rock from the aftermath of the grunge movement and you’d have half of what We Are The Catalyst has to offer.
Comparing ‘Ephemeral’ to other European metal acts, one feels this sounds like a deleted Lullacry release deemed too cringey for the symphonic scene due to the horrid backing vocals and predictable changes from aggressive to heartfelt moments in almost every song.
Furthermore, the very tone of this album is uncomfortable. This might be the opinion of just one reviewer so take it with a pinch of salt – but you will find every single cliché of what has made the ‘female fronted’ genre of metal so poor in taste for anyone who has been on the metal scene long enough.
It is hard to determine just what this band was trying to say; if it’s merely ‘don’t give up and let the bullies win’, then they’ve taken a tone that is far too bland and laden with predictable metal clichés like boring guitars and synths to please a wide audience.
Overall, it should be noted that this critic is a veteran metalhead, so We Are The Catalyst is most likely a band I’m too old for, so it would seem appropriate to call them a ‘gateway’ band for the younger generations. However, the term ‘Catalyst’ is described on their website as someone or something that precipitates change – and if they want to change metal to sounding more like this album: no thank you.