Catalysis – Connection Lost Review

Can you imagine having to self-release your debut album in the middle of a pandemic that prevents you from touring? This fate befalls quite a few young bands this year, and one of them is this one, a quartet called Catalysis from the Scottish city of Dundee, most famous for its undead unicorn invasion in the year 992. Like Saints of Death a few weeks ago, Catalysis mix groove and death metal in an attempt to play to the strengths of both without the common pitfalls of most groove metal bands. The Saints, unfortunately, did not fare very well at this. Did the Scots do any better?

Yes, they did! Rather than playing straight groove metal but louder and more distorted, Connection Lost feels more like a death metal album with the no-holds-barred attitude of groove metal. The riffing style is mainly mid-paced stomps that whip your head around by the hair, accompanied by coarse roars for the main vocals and drums that seem intent on striking right through the skins altogether. If this sounds to you as unrepentantly macho as Dyscarnate, that’s because it is, albeit in a slightly less burly fashion, mixing some melody and even a few classic metalcore sensibilities into the testosterone.1

This approach works for the same reason that many other groove metal bands don’t. The attitude expressed vocally often doesn’t line up with the comparatively meek music. Not so in the case of Catalysis, whose riffs are enough to double your bench press stats, particularly with the very effective roaring vocals in tow. When they try to shake up the formula a little, though, the tower of manliness totters. The clean vocals are not particularly convincing, reminding mostly of Corey Taylor without the technique or conviction. “A Bridge Too Far” and “Reborn” suffer notably from this issue, but closer “Version of the Truth” is the nadir, kicking off with a deeply uncomfortable minute of rapping that should have been left in the early 2000’s where it came from. It’s a pretty baffling decision, especially since it is otherwise a solid closing track with some excellent melodic lead work.

These are a few blemishes on an otherwise solid and enjoyable debut. Thankfully, it doesn’t lose too much steam on these detours, instead choosing to plow ahead like a steam-powered tank for most of the record’s running time, yielding such notable ditties as the militant “Devils in the Panic Room,” the hooky title track with a particularly neck-snapping chorus, and the thrashy “Tomb for the Torn” embedded below.2 A notable boon towards this goal is the production, which is uncharacteristically good for an unsigned band. The master is a tad loud but suits the music, every element sounds crisp and hits hard, and the mix cleverly highlights the drumming, which gets the adrenaline pumping harder than these irons that this album magicked into my hands.

Wrapping up, Catalysis have produced a solid debut with a few warts. With snappy, hard-hitting songwriting and an impressive production for an independent outfit, they succeed in using the bludgeoning aggression of death metal to justify the attitude of groove metal, creating a sound that may not be too original but is no less entertaining for it. If these guys can get their sound to a more consistent level and become more conscious of what does and doesn’t work for them, they have the potential to really gets some heads rolling. For now, Connection Lost got mine banging, and that’s more than I could ask for.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 224 kbps mp3
Label: Self-released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 24th, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. That’s a dangerous and unstable combination. – Steel
  2. With a very cute and very 2020 video
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