Scotland. A country where it rains a lot (apparently) and deep frying things that don’t need deep frying is popular (common knowledge). Scotland is also the home of some strong metal, with the likes of Bleed From Within and To Kill Achilles calling it their home. One of the more recent additions to the Scottish metal scene is Catalysis, hailing from Dundee. The quintet formed in 2016, are involved in the upcoming Metal To The Masses competition for Bloodstock, and have recently unleashed their debut EP Into The Unknown. As a fan of metal, and being half Scottish, I feel like it’s my duty to check this out. Let me fetch my kilt….
My first impression of this, straight off the bat, is that it’s a very strong debut. You can tell from the opening chords and drum smashes of Coexistence that a lot of time and care has gone into this EP, and it’s come out sounding huge and very professional. The guitar tone has plenty of bite to it, the bass has heaps of thickness, and the drums burst through the mix and make themselves heard. As soon as the riffs kicked in, I got a huge old-school metalcore vibe. Just so you know; metalcore is what I grew up on. It’s my bread and butter. I’m super critical of bands that sit within this genre, and you know what? This is a really great start for these guys. The riffs aren’t overly flamboyant, but they don’t need to be. They’re well constructed, well written, and get their point across with power. There’s nothing game-changing or revolutionary going on, sure. But fear not, there’s enough balls in the riffs to entice your head into appreciatively bobbing backwards and forwards. There’s also a few tasty lead sections scattered about for good measure, courtesy of Drew Cochrane. Although some of the sections could’ve been a little better thought out, they are on the whole well written and delivered. Listen to Transcend in particular for a twiddly harmonised gem of a solo. The guitars and thundering drums nicely compliment the vocals. And my, were the vocals a pleasant surprise. Sam Field (lead vocals) has a really versatile range, navigating from highs to lows with ease. The tone of his scream fits with the musical style really well too, and doesn’t sound out of place in the slightest. The vocals are actually one of my favourite things about this whole EP, which considering I’m a guitarist is a surprise. If the whole band is able to progress from this point, they’re only going to go from strength to strength. This is a really potential-filled debut, and I’d be very intrigued to see how the progress going forwards.
If this is a name you don’t know yet, remember it. If Catalysis continue down this path, I have no doubt that their releases are just going to continue to develop and improve. Who knows, if you’re at Bloodstock next year you may even see these lads on the bill. If you like metal along the lines of Still Remains, Trivium and Machine Head, give this EP a spin. I reckon you’ll dig it.