CATARACT's last album “Kingdom” was a barnstorming kerfuffle of hobnail booted Thrashcore that showed how to deliver within the genre. Will this eponymous effort equally step up to the plate?
“Cataract” possesses much of the bluff and thunder of its predecessor but it also holds back on the gas much more than before, the overall impact is reduced but perhaps the character is increased. There's no doubt that the whole remains as hard as nails, maybe because the band have reintroduced some Hardcore elements to the mainstay Thrashings, whatever, it's hard to keep those toes from tapping when CATARACT are pumping. These lot know how to keep it heavy, the upshot of which is that when it comes to breakdowns, they don't feel the need to resort to gratuitous floor collapsing, in fact it's often at these moments that they are at their most tuneful, they leave the pissing contest to more insecure exponents.
You can tell that the band hail from the world's angriest country, Switzerland, the vocals are an ill-tempered tirade that barks out a miffed commentary that remains its riled edge throughout, forget about any clean singing or angst ridden shriek outs. Of course this fits in perfectly with the solid stomp of the instruments, the bass bounds along like a bull elephant with an aversion to anything beneath its feet whilst the drums are more insistent than a cold calling door to door salesman, presenting anything from the won't take no for an answer tattoo as they try to browbeat you to sign up and the double bass tantrum when you slam the door in their face.
The guitars tell a richer story this time round, there is still plenty of the heads down, no nonsense Thrash-bash but CATARACT have tied a drag anchor to the six strings and so a significant proportion of their contribution is courtesy of stabbing riffage and mid-tempo chug, all of it deliberately placed but not so as to sound mathematical. There are a number of hell-cat solos that set a brief blazing path like the DeLorean in Back to the Future, whilst one slips off and nearly disappears up its own arse. For me, the guitars are best when at their pulse racing peak, ratcheting up the pressure and then forging forth with water cannon intent.
“Cataract” is quite calculated, there's no doubt that it is a more intelligent beast than “Kingdom,” the variance in dynamics and modicum of melody during breakdowns proves it to be a stalker rather than a rampaging predator rushing from one prey item to the next. The latter may be a more exhilarating sight short term but in the long term, it's the former that will get to sink its teeth into you.
(Online April 10, 2008)