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Metal Blade (2008)
Rating: 7/10

Cataract are Swiss hardcore legends, although they often get lumped into the abused metalcore genre. Cataract is the band’s fifth album and celebrates their decade long dominance of their scene. Coming on the heels of 2006’s Kingdom, an album that leans more towards the metal side of the music, the band continues to utilize a heavier, fuller sound than their initial trio of releases did and the result is a pounding, pummeling work of anger that buries Kingdom in its wake.

Cataract is a riotous album that continues to prove how unrelenting this band is. I wasn’t a big fan of the Kingdom album so I went into this one a bit apprehensively. ‘The Separation Of Life And Time’ kicks the doors to your eardrums in right away but that’s about all it is able to do. It gets lost in the metalcore splendour the band dabbled in on Kingdom.

It isn’t until the breakdown in the second track, ‘Blackest Hour’, that longtime fans will settle in as the more familiar Cataract sound slowly starts to take over. ‘Deathwish’ does its part in bringing the sound back to what you remember as well and it does it early enough that your spirits stay high.

As the band settle into their namesake, the songs seem to spring to life more, offering dirty crunch, pulsing breakdowns, and hardcore defiance in abundance. ‘Choke Down’ is a solid nod to the NYC hardcore scene with its grunt heavy destruction, while songs like ‘Burn At The Stake’ and ‘Breeze Of The Kings’ entice scenesters everywhere to start a circle pit around them and scream the latter song’s moniker at the top of their lungs.

It’s the epic ‘Tonight We Dine In Hell’ though that forces the spotlight upon itself. An amalgamation of murderous sounds and grinding metal, you really can read this book by its cover. Its fiendish sound fits perfectly into this album and gives fans something entirely new to chew on as Cataract enters the next decade of their career.

Cataract have long since proved themselves, but I think fans will find this much to their liking. The band continues to get heavier while re-embracing the old a bit more and even offering something entirely new this time out. The album stumbles a bit right off the bat but recovers fairly quickly. As a matter of fact, the second and third time around with this album you’ll find a lot of nuances that you initially missed; this isn’t as “what you hear as what you get” stylistically as some of the band’s prior works.

Hardcore and metal fans can come together over Cataract for sure, and there is enough of the individuality of each to keep the band in the good graces of even the most jaded diehard genre fans.

Mark Fisher

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