If there was ever an album to sum up a band like The Catharsis’ live performance, Romance is definitely just that. Having caught them live a few months ago, this was definitely an album I was very eager to hear. This is an album that manages to capture exactly what this band is about.
Opening track Funeral is short and to the point, which is exactly what an introduction to be. Starting with noise, feedback and harsh screams, it really hammers home the fact that this album is going to be an absolute stormer and leads perfectly into the second track, Dead Man Talking, which is one of the best tracks of the album. Punctuated with a wall of guitars and in-your-face vocals, this is exactly how hardcore should sound.
Continuing from strength to strength, Stray Dogs is another fantastic track. The “softer” part about halfway through, with just guitar and a touch of cymbals, was a great touch to it, giving it a slightly calm moment before picking up exactly where it left off. The next track Heart Burner is surely a song that is going to be a staple of their set for many months to follow, with the chanted lines of “you’ll never take me alive” and “we are the bastard sons” definitely a candidate for some crowd participation.
Track Styx is one of the weaker songs of the album, however. The Catharsis definitely do “loud and heavy” best, and this one didn’t work too well. The clean vocals at the end seemed lacklustre and weak, and the length of it (which was roughly two minutes longer than the majority of the songs) didn’t help either, in addition to the tempo. Following track Amour was a stark contrast to this one, with it being the shortest track of the album, as well as one of the most energetic. Certainly one to bang your head along to.
Leave Me Here unfortunately cemented the fact that clean vocals don’t seem to work with this band. Whilst otherwise a technically great track with some wonderful instrumentation and noisy-as-balls vocals, during the clean parts the track lost a lot of momentum, which was a shame. Closing track Romance ends the album on a massive high, full with a final spurt of immense energy before the track slowly fades out into silence – the perfect way to end a fast-paced album such as this one.
All-in-all, a fantastic album. If you love hardcore, then you need this album in your life.