Metal On Metal
11/14/2008 - Review by: Eric Compton
Catch 22 is a band that I have followed since their conception. The Ohio band released two albums before establishing themselves as a real powerhouse on their third release, "Awaken", recorded in 2003 for the now defunct Molten Metal USA. The group has gone through some lineup changes, label confusion, and a rather bizarre incident with their last album, "Soulreaper Vol. 1". Apparently the band recorded "Soulreaper" as a 22 track album. Due to lack of funding and a solid label the group released part of the album as "Soulreaper Vol. 1" independently in 2007 as a promotional item to land a record deal. The CD was sold through various retailers like CD Baby and Impulse Music. The project worked and the band landed a deal with the promising Metal On Metal Records. The label and band put together the full "Soulreaper" sessions in a 2CD set known collectively as "Soulreaper: Evilution/Deviluion". This set has been re-organized with tracks from the "Vol. 1" recording scattered through discs 1 and 2 along with the remaining undheard eleven tracks. The same album cover from "Vol. 1" remains here but the inlay and tray liner looks to be different.
Fans will see the consistent evolution of the group from an aggressive metal suit to the more solid, traditional outfit worn today with this album. The band definitely still packs a pistol, delivering bullet after bullet of menacing down tuned power metal but at the same time they mix it up with what I would consider more European overtones. Think of a Firewind or Messiah's Kiss crossed with the profound excellence of early Savatage and mid-era Jag Panzer. Vocalist T.J.Berry is right on the money with his mid-range command, occasionally reaching some higher chords reminscent of Overlorde's Bobby Lucas. The group hit on up tempo tracks, melodic songs, traditional metal formulas, and the obligatory metal anthems. Fans of 80s US heavy metal can find no wrong here.
Collectively this is the best album from the band thus far. The group continue their push into the upper tiers of US metal. If Metal On Metal can sell enough plastic then this band could be heading to Europe to cash in on some big fests instead of playing basement shows.
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