Tech Death Premiere: Catalyst – Paragon of Devastation
Me: Tech death needs less predictability and more guitar solos.
Catalyst: We hear you.
One of the greatest joys in writing for a blog is receiving promo materials for a band of whom I’ve never heard—whose music absolutely blows me away—and being given the opportunity to share that new discovery with others. Prior to this week I had never heard of France’s Catalyst… now they’ve been added to the list of my favorite bands of the tech death variety—a subgenre of metal of which I’ve lost some interest over the years due to saturation. Believe me when I tell you that Catalyst are MONSTERS of their craft, stand-outs in a genre that I don’t appreciate as much as our resident Tech Death prophet Spear.
What do we get with their new single, “Paragon of Devastation”? A heavy slab of progressive and technical mastery, brutal vocal delivery with occasional gang vocals, and a heaping helping of guitar AND bass solos. I am also quite fond of the mixing / mastering which is beautifully illustrated by those sensuous bass notes clearly audible among the furious guitar riffs and double bass drums. In contrast, another tech death band which I enjoy, Origin, generally produce albums with bizarre mixes and who just play as fast as humanely possible with very few variations in speed and style. “Paragon of Devastation” – and the other two available singles – are composed so intricately with progressive touches scattered all throughout and multiple tempo changes contained within each song.
How about that groovy-as-heck bridge (somewhat reminiscent of Meshuggah) which slows down to a thunderous march, morphs into a speedy, thrashy section, and finally returns to that march to end on a high note? That’s what I mean about exciting song structure!
Need more proof of their progressive yet brutal assault? From the upcoming album A Different Painting For a New World they offer two other songs for your listening pleasure, “To Unleash Thy Heinous Fate” and “Worms and Locusts”, which beg for your attention on the album’s BandCamp page. After you’ve had your sack whipped / slapped off (is that what the kids call it these days?) you can also check out some of their previous material, including the 2019 LP entitled The Great Purpose of the Lords… If long songs are your thing that album will definitely be right up your alley (over half of them breach the 5-minute mark and one 10+). Yes, the album itself is over 60 minutes long but there is so much variation in structure and speed that it never grows stale.
A Different Painting For a New World comes out on October 14th of 2022 on Non Serviam Records. Pre-order at their BandCamp page or perhaps snag yourself a CD or vinyl copy of it! It consists of 10 tracks that add up to about an hour’s worth of material and I can’t wait to hear it in full.
On a final note, I just want to say the following: this band is incredible and I wish I had known about them sooner.