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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Promo Backlog CD Review: Catastrophic - Pathology of Murder

In the following couple weeks, be on the lookout for reviews of albums that have had the misfortune of finding their way into my insufferable backlog, rescued and presented for your edification. This one was released in January of this year...

Catastrophic - Pathology of Murder
2008 Napalm Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Jeeeeesus wept, how much thrash and grind abuse can you withstand in one sitting? Though it's been seven years since Trevor Peres and his post-Obituary wrecking crew Catastrophic has been in action, the time is more than made up on the offshoot's ball-breaking second album of punk, hardcore, death and grind, Pathology of Murder.

Nobody had the shredding capabilities of Catastrophic in mind when bands like DRI, Suicidal Tendencies and Broken Bones turned pure thrash during the crossover phase of the late eighties. Once the fastest album in the land, SOD's Speak English Or Die is but one of many engineers to what Catastrophic has achieved by relegating Speak English Or Die into the slow lane. Not to flirt with committing metal blasphemy, even the trailblazing Death might've had trouble keeping up with Catastrophic.

The image of skin tearing on pavement at 100 mph is what you can conjure in your mind to describe the tenacious brutality and teeth-gnashing, punkified, fuck-it-all rhythm smashing that Catastrophic wields in wicked increments. Seriously, outside of Cannibal Corpse, you're not going to find such baldfaced intensity set upon dynamic punk and death metal courses. The heat-seeking speed of Pathology of Murder almost makes Catastrophic's 2001 debut The Cleansing an afterthought, sad to say. If the hardcore and grind algorithms on Pathology of Murder aren't enough to melt your grey matter to ooze, the guitars of Peres and Brian Hobbie will easily finish the job. Their clawing riffs extract piss and vinegar that dribbles down their legs and the discomfort only agitates them more as Pathology of Murder jettisons away from the majority of its competition with outrageous velocity.

Former Pyrexia vocalist Keith Devito manages to turn his growls into a streetwise bellowing session on this album. Whether Catastrophic wants to go the full monty at double-timed speed or they want to fuse various punk pulses to bring things down to bare mid-tempo, it doesn't matter; Devito is on-point at all times. Together, Catastrophic proficiently hammers your brains out with ferocity and they nearly break your wrists in the process of pulling and flinging you from their cliff-dropped aggression.

As much of Catastrophic is the by-product of Obituary thanks to Trevor Peres, it's also born of Napalm Death, Agnostic Front and pre-crossover DRI. The way songs like "Apathy's Warm Embrace," "Problem, Reaction, Solution" and "Healthy Dose of Hate" brutalize and entertain in the same breath, if you're not headbanging to this neck-loosening scorcher of an album, nobody can help your wanker ass. It just may be more than you can handle...

Rating: ****1/2

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