Cult of Catharsis / Opus Forgotten - _Lord of the Gallows_ / _Unleash the Fury_
(Aftermath Music, 2004)
by: Alvin Wee (6 out of 10)
Cult of Catharsis start off with a refreshing mix of styles, melding grandiose, doom-laced passages with an oddly complementary Gothenburg-thrash demeanor. While coming across as passé at first listen, especially coming after the recent melodic-death boom, the tracks begin to assert themselves after a few spins. Well-executed rock 'n' riff fests like the second track "Blade of the Prowler" become strangely infectious when played at volume, even if they reek of previous work by Swordmaster or more recent Impaled Nazarene.

Not a bad five tracks, but unfortunately overshadowed (in terms of originality at least) by the distinctive style of Opus Forgotten. Taking a base of DM-infused Norse brutality, OF add a liberal dose of solo violin to their black metal chaos, tingeing their sound with an intruiging -- if not entirely comfortable -- incongruency. It's hard to decide if the violin is boon or bane to their otherwise run-of-the-mill compositions. At times, it charges the music with a dazzling urgency, but at its worst, clashes miserably and disrupts the momentum of perfectly good guitar passages. Nevertheless, the seven tracks are entertaining enough, and moments of brilliance suggest the band's potential with some practice and a little compositional maturity.


(article published 19/11/2004)

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