4/4/2008 - Review by: Etiam
'Cataclysm' is the first solo effort of multi-instrumentalist and chronic shoe-gazer David Galas. After a stint with the comparably gloomy Lycia, David broke off circa 2000 and spent the next five years years composing and creating this album. It was finally brought to market in early 2007 via Vendlus Records, a new and generally dependable label for black-sheep artists.
As a product of that uninhibited label, one shouldn't bet bottom dollar that 'Cataclysm' would turn out as a metal record. And, indeed, though it does brush up against the genre's bulwarks from time to time, the majority of its 70+ minutes are spent sloshing about the waters of gothic, ambient, and darkwave. When done properly, these can all be compelling genres that enfolds the listener like the womb, a suffocating cocoon, or any point in between. When done improperly, they are a frustrating bore more fit for an occult bookstore's washroom.
And this is the case with 'Cataclysm'. Over 19 tracks, Galas plods through the depths of his emotional doldrums with resilience. Unfortunately, the product sounds more apathetic than melancholic, and is impossible to pay it much heed. Most songs are mere sketches: a repeating riff or piano phrase while David drones on sourly before reaching an arbitrary end. Those songs that attempt more--in instrumentation, composition, etc.--tend to be better, and some have the potential to be rather good, but this potential is never realized. The result sounds something similar to a Dax Riggs project (Deadboy or Acid Bath) with all its vitals removed, or a 21st century version of Orgy's Tears For Fears covers with the rhythm tracks turned down.
Nearly every track employs the same lazy strumming patterns and drags along at the same lazy tempo. The instrumentation does vary on occasion--a couple times even becoming quite metallic--and some tracks have a vastly different sound than others, but the album generates so little momentum that even its best passages are smothered and soon forgotten. Indeed, David would have done well to draw even a spark of energy from a more accomplished Galas, first name Diamanda.
Jesting aside, David Galas has obviously poured his soul into this project. It is a true example of the one-man affair, as he composed the lyrics, realized the concept, performs all the vocals and instrumentation. There's no doubt that it was a draining affair, and the dedication it must have required is admirable. It just isn't all that impressive, cataclysmic, or even climactic in the least.
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