Catheter: Southwest Doom Violence

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Catheter: Southwest Doom Violence
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Catheter: Southwest Doom Violence
Death Metal, Grindcore
Selfmadegod Records
May 1st, 2012
Release length: 28:58
Myspace
Website
Catheter formed back in 1997, and has been active since their 1999 debut effort with Fukrot titled Battered Piece of Human Shit. Since then, the group has issued a whopping sixteen similar split recordings (including the previously mentioned one), an EP, a compilation, and two full-length releases. Since their 2005 album Dimension 303, the amount of fresh material seemed to be grinding to a halt, only recording a handful of songs to make the last three of the aforementioned sixteen offerings over a seven year period. For 2012, the group find themselves on Selfmadegod Records to issue their long awaited third full-length title, Southwest Doom Violence. But, is it about time, or are they just way too late on delivery?

Like many Death-Metal-meets-Grindcore recordings, the audio quality is rather raw. The bass is really deep in the mix, but still loud enough that you really pick up in it against the low-tuned guitar chords that sound pretty typical for this style of music, but still usher in a commanding presence. The drums here sound really good, having an emptier sound to the snares that come through dominantly and just bounce through the skull during the blast beats, but not at a volume that really makes them abrasive or too hard to handle after a while. The cymbals are pretty crisp, but a bit further in the background, and the same goes for the deeper click of the bass kicks that are just subtle enough to really make a nice impact on the material. The vocals are your typical mix of gutturals and growls against higher, raspier screams. Compared to the drums, these are the furthest back in the recording, being greatly drowned out by the guitars, and especially the snares. Despite being so hard to make out, you can always pick up on an enthusiastic performance that perfectly matches the energy being given off by the rest of the band.

For the most part, Southwest Doom Violence is heavily dominated by blast beats and shorter tracks. Some of the longer ones really allow the band’s Death Metal influences to come through, offering up a little more variety to the material than the common intense and high speed Grindcore elements. This is actually how the album starts off. “Intro” sets up a bit of an ominous vibe through some ambient effects and distortions on the guitars that slowly build up in richness and volume until “Encapsulation” kicks in. This one starts off much slower, giving off a crushing, dismal atmosphere with a matching guttural performance that works well with it, but eventually starts shifting between blistering blast beats and generally heavy, faster paced Death Metal chords that bring thoughts of Napalm Death and Cretin deep in the listener’s mind. No matter what speed, both approaches are enough to make you bang your head along obediantly. “Ingestion” starts off with a very brief groove-driven start, bringing in a far more commanding approach that is sadly interrupted all too soon by the pounding blasts of the drum kit that feel natural, but far from necessary. Unfortunately, these distinctives shifts happen quite often throughout the release, really limiting how effective the slower, bludgeoning moments remain.

The rest of the album is like willingly running your face against a cheese grater. That’s not in any way a negative statement, as there are still enough subtle shifts and alterations to the music to keep Southwest Doom Violence an enjoyable experience. “Hypercaine” introduces a bit of a Hardcore touch to the music, in the performance and attitude, that instantly hooks the listener and demands your head to bang along to the dominating drum work in the more open passages that carry a really infectious groove. This bleeds seamlessly into the crushing “Turning Point,” carrying a dismal start similar to “Encapsulation” before slamming right into some brutal blast beats with altered drums and guitars that cause it to stand out a lot more, and make you even want it to stick around the whole time instead of treading back into the Death Metal sound at more of a mid-tempo pace. “Can’t Change Existence” grabs your attention due to it’s energetic outbursts among the blast beat passages. This is the opposite of “Ingestion” though. The Death Metal brought in carries a Southern vibe to it, and appears towards the end. While really catchy and unique to the album, the abusive start is really engaging, making you wish they didn’t shift the sound at all, especially since it carries into “No Harvest” for a much longer, and far more expansive amount of time.

Southwest Doom Violence certainly isn’t going to win any major award or accolades from the Metal or Grindcore communities, but it’s raw and abrasive assault does make for some really strong material well worth experiencing. Catheter have woven an album that lasts less than thirty minutes, but every track that is included packs a punch straight to the jaw in an effort to lay you out and curb stomp you until the bitter end. The title of this release perfectly explains what you is has in store for you: Violence. If this style is your thing, there’s really no reason to pass this up, but given that Southwest Doom Violence isn’t a the most unique offering of Death Metal and Grindcore in recent years, you can still take your time in adding it to your collection.

01. Intro – 1:03
02. Encapsulation – 2:00
03. Can’t Dream – 0:39
04. Prosthetic Mind – 2:52
05. A Thousand Lies – 2:06
06. Hypercaine – 0:43
07. Turning Point – 2:25
08. Ingestion – 1:41
09. Conspiracy Control – 0:52
10. Doom to Grind – 1:34
11. Can’t Change Existence – 1:32
12. No Harvest – 2:10
13. Death Merchant – 1:24
14. Strike – 1:27
15. Bullshit Business – 0:56
16. Vile – 0:46
17. In This Moment – 4:48
Overall Score: 7/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by: Selfmadegod Records
via Earsplit PR.