(Metal Blade)

01. The Separation Of Life And Time
02. Blackest Hour
03. Snake Skin
04. Choke Down
05. Deathwish
06. Burn At The Stake
07. Tonight We Dine In Hell
08. Breeze Of The Kings
09. Doomed Steps
10. In Ashes

RATING: 7.5/10

If you happen to work out, even including a daily walk through the neighborhood or some quality time spent with your treadmill, then you know that certain styles of metal turn you from overweight sucker of wind into Olympian. Fire-breathing thrash, especially the newer-school variety from the likes of HEAVEN SHALL BURN, DEW-SCENTED, and HURTLOCKER tend to kick my adrenaline levels up a notch, and I can safely add the new self-titled album from Switzerland's CATARACT to that list. The band celebrates its 10th anniversary with album number five, one that still contains traces of hardcore violence, but is by and large a ripping new-school thrash album.

CATARACT has maintained a consistency in its work over the years and the self-titled release continues that trend. Nothing on the disc represents any kind of new direction or overly creative thought, but every song is a keeper. The boys in the band definitely understand the craft of turning violence into a sound. At no point does one feel anything but beatdown while in the fetal position on the ground. Though the aforementioned hardcore feel in spots is present, the spirit harnessed is of the East Coast street-fighting kind, and few would feel completely comfortable calling this metalcore. Songs like "Deathwish" and "Blackest Hour" possess riffs that are hard as iron and a rhythm section that makes one feel as though he's being repeatedly kicked in the head. Choruses give the listener just enough to grab hold of, even if melodic terms like "mellifluous" are about as out of place as George W. Bush participating in a discussion with Mensa members. Incidentally, I found the album's instrumental track, "Tonight we Dine in Hell", to be quite good, the mix of choke-slamming cadence and guitar melodies, peppered with some obligatory screams of agony, more than workable.

In short, this is the hard stuff. Coupled with Tue Madsen's always-crisp, clean, and steel-belted production, CATARACT's new offering should do the trick, especially for those needing to muster up enough courage for the Stairmaster.


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