Cataract - Kingdom - Metal Blade Records 2006
Running Time: 41:26
My perception of Cataract's major label debut, 2004's With Triumph Comes Loss, left me with the impression that - though fiercely legitimate in their hardcore ethic - somewhere in the background lurked a band just as much fans of '80s / '90s American death metal as they were of Agnostic Front and early Biohazard. Every couple months or so, I'd throw on With Triumph Comes Loss along with fellow Europeans Born From Pain, get my hardcore on, then head back into realms of metal, desire for killer breakdowns and mental floor-punching sated.
Well, I'd hesitate to attempt any complex dance moves when experiencing Cataract live these days, because you may just get your ass handed to you by the army of Slayer fans sure to be in abundance at this Switzerland quintet's shows after they get a whiff of Kingdom. As steadfast when it comes to military neutrality as their homeland is, it's amazing the level of ferocity these guys kick up. Taking the best parts from With Triumph...., and pulverizing them with a ton of Slayer brand bricks, "Kingdom's Rise" being almost as straight-up hardcore as Cataract get here. Once the furious downbeats kick in, and Frederico starts barking all over "War Of Cultures", this is pure Metal warfare. Yes, with a capital "M". There's more of everything on Kingdom that made With Triumph... such a huge success in my book. More energy, more memorable riffs, and more pushed-to-the-redline adrenaline are the order of the day with Cataract circa 2006. Sure, the 'cored out gang vox show up from time to time, but their appearance is tasteful and not overbearing. A bit of the ever-popular Swedish guitar sound creeps in occasionally, as in "On This Graveyard", conjuring images of a throwdown between At The Gates and All Out War, neither side being totally victorious, and resulting in a convincing hybrid of both styles to the credit of Cataract. "Denial Of Life" swings like an anvil on the end of a chain, and when the breakdown finally does hit at about the 2:30 mark, the groove is welcomed due to the merciless thrash which preceded it. Stratospheric leads burst through "Denial" as well, Mader/Fulleman conjuring the spirits of the long-sleeping King/Hanneman duo with suprising effectiveness. It's the album's centerpiece, though, that places Kingdom (and Cataract as a whole) firmly at the next level. Kicking off with a Hatesphere thrashcore pattern shaded by skillful melodic dual leads, "March With Your Battleforce" rumbles forward with all the subtlety of a tank, the song's lyric calling out the generals and politicians that hide behind their desks while sending the youth to war. A slight nod to Pantera builds the backbone of "Definition Of The Sacred", Dimebag being as referenced by the guitar tone and riff as Anselmo is by the rabid spewings of Frederico, yet neither veering into carbon copy status. Hell, it may not have been intentional, but it actually works for Cataract in this case. Ending with the full frontal assault of "For Your Sins", Cataract ends Kingdom by "War Ensemble"-ing it up for all they're worth, more convincing at thrash execution than any hardcore band has a right to be.
With a running time of just over forty minutes, and virtually no filler, Cataract establish themselves as one of metal's most vital allies in the sometimes insular hardcore scene. To be blunt, Kingdom is where Slayer should've gone after Seasons In The Abyss.