Cathexis: Shades of Apocalypse

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Cathexis: Shades of Apocalypse
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Cathexis: Shades of Apocalypse
Technical Death Metal
Mulligore Productions, Self-release
February 20th, 2013 / September 3rd, 2013
Release length: 29:47
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Austin, Texas has been playing home to a good deal of Death Metal bands as of late. In 2012, it played host to the formation of the Technical Death Metal group Cathexis. This five-piece group wasted no time in writing and recording their first album, Shades of Apocalypse, which they released themselves in February of this year. Eventually, they found themselves signed to Mulligore Productions, who have officially released the album to the masses in preparation of an upcoming second album due sometime this Fall. But, is this an album worth making note in the first place, or is it just a rushed and generic display of the style?

Shades of Apocalypse doesn’t have the most impressive Death Metal audio quality to it. The guitars have a decent buzz to them, though sometimes it can be a bit thin and tinny, as if heard through an old amp that has seen better days. The bass isn’t always the most effective, but when it is you do get a stronger back bone to the release, making those segments or songs a lot heavier. The drums are great, and the vocals are crisp despite being drowned out slightly. Thankfully, when it all comes together, the audio does its just well enough to convey what the band is going for.

“Oscillation of Destruction” comes off from the slightly ominous introductory track “Inheritor of the Weak” rather strong, carrying some infectious riffs with hints of technicality scattered about. The double bass kicks really solidify the faster sections, and when the pace slows down, the tuning used actually leads to buzzing not related to the distortion used, adding a sharper touch to the final third of the song. Unfortunately it’s with the title track, “Shades of Apocalypse,” that the mid-range distortion hinders the attempts at atmosphere and a commanding presence, finding this one falling short other than to get your head moving along to the rhythm, and leaving you with a strong bass solo about a minute and a half in that doesn’t quite compare to the brief Progressive Metal guitar work present on “Prostration” about two minutes in.

“Dethroned by the Pernicious” isn’t the most technical offering you’ll find, though some passages, especially about half way through, do offer you a little complexity against a surprisingly deeper performance thanks to the stronger bass presence. For the most part, it carries a pretty standard Death Metal groove that shifts in and out of mid to slower paces, and the deeper gutturals with additional rasps at times do make things a bit more sinister. The breakdown at the end definitely compliments the fluid performance, again taking advantage of the deeper tones, really making this track jump out at the listener. The same goes for the far more intricate “Immobilized by Consumption.” The guitar work in some spots is really impressive, and the crisp drumming really sticks out here, especially in the cymbals that help to fill the gaps at a very slight distance, such as right before the guitar solo that sounds horrible due to the cleaner distortion, and not necessarily in its execution.

Despite some issues with how the guitars sound, Shades of Apocalypse is a solid début release from Cathexis. At times it does seem to play by the typical Technical Death Metal rules a bit too much, never really offering that unique of a sound other than the Progressive touch in “Prostration,” but still original enough to not be categorized as generic. The performances themselves are solid and, had the production been a little stronger, definitely would have made a longer lasting impact than it does. If you enjoy the style, Shades of Apocalypse is a release you’ll enjoy for what it is. While it isn’t something that drastically needed an official pressing, it’s good to know that it got one to warm up a wider range of fans of the genre to the group before their follow-up album drops later this year.

01. Inheritor of the Weak – 4:45
02. Oscillation of Destruction – 3:24
03. Shades of Apocalypse – 2:53
04. Prostration – 3:45
05. Dethroned by the Pernicious – 4:43
06. Immobilized by Consumption – 3:30
07. Celestial Pathogen – 6:46
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Cathexis
Cathexis

Digital review copy of this release provided by Mulligore Productions.