Catch 22 - Time Reveals
Real heavy metal! That is about the best way to describe this offering from Catch 22. "Time Reveals All" reminds me of bands like Metal Church, Helstar, Zaxas, and even some Testament here and there. ("Skies of Black" in particular has a big Testament influence.) If Catch 22 blend anything it's the power and intensity of Bay Area thrash metal with the more traditional sounds of bands like Priest and Dio. Vocalist TJ Berry has one of those classic metal voices that is powerful and sports plenty of range, not unlike Chuck Billy (Testament). However, his high pitched screams echo that of Halford at times. The music is heavy...and I do mean heavy! This is no pop metal here. Catch 22 write heavy riffs that don't require downtuning to sound heavy, like much of the crap called metal in recent years. The production isn't the greatest, being a self-financed and self-released album, but it's certainly not bad either. I remember a day when the music and the attitude were far more importanty than having perfect production. Metal Church's debut comes to mind here. "Time Reveals All" sports a similar raw recording, but one that works with the music, rather than distracting from it. Overall, a solid metal platter. It's a shame that quality bands like this can't get decent label support. Ahhh, but then, I guess that is what the metal underground is all about. Long live metal!
Catch 22 - Awaken (Molten Metal) 2003
1. "Betrayal of the
Do people still play REAL HEAVY METAL in 2003? Absolutely! Catch 22 is heavy metal. Untainted by any current trends. There is no growling, no black metal shrieks, no rapping and there certainly are no grungy, depressing vocals either. They are not overly technical prog metal, not even dungeons and dragons power metal, but just pure heavy metal. Catch 22 unashamedly play a brand of metal that is unpopular in 2003. However any long time fan of metal will probably start the head to banging within the first song. The music reminds me of classic bands like Metal Church, Jag Panzer, early Savatage and Armored Saint, with an occassional touch of the late 80's Bay Area thrash attitude thrown in to keep things ineresting. Tracks like "Into the Black", "Blood on the Bricks," "Wicked from the Womb", "Lost" and "Betrayal of the Masses" could easily have been written for one of the early Metal Church CDs. All these tracks are full throttle rockers that border on speed metal. "Underneath" is a mid-paced true metal romp with a slight Maiden influence. The title track and "...As Twilight Descends" are really the only mellow moments on this disc, other than a short intro to the epic "Wicked from the Womb". The acoustic tones of these songs add some contrast to the metallic tracks. One thing that the vocals have that I also like are those high-pitched, falsetto screams. Overall, this is just a solid heavy metal disc. I can't really find anything I don't like about it. Surprisingly, even the production on this independent release is good. Chugging, chunky rhythms, pounding drums, thumpin' bass, and soaring lead guitars. This band seems to have everything any metalhead who is longing for the days of denim and leather could want. Fans of classic heavy metal would do themselves well to check out Catch 22. Available through www.moltenmetalusa.com
Catch 22 are one of the unsung heros of the metal underground. They've been toiling in the metal scene for years releasing several solid, traditional metal albums. "Soulreaper: Evilution/Devilution" is the next chapter in the Catch 22 saga, and could very well be their crowning achievement. This double CD contains 22 songs that were originally meant to be released in two parts "Evilution Rising" (CD 1) and "Devilution Descending" (CD 2).In 2007 the band released Part 1 independently. In 2008 Italian label Metal-on-metal Records picked up the band. Instead of releasing Part 2, all 22 songs are released here on this two CD collection. (Sounds like one of those Time/Life commercials. Order now for two payments of only $19.85!)
"Soulreaper" is guitar-driven, aggressive heavy metal that walks a fine line between groove oriented metal, classic Judas Priest-inspired metal and even classic speed/thrash metal like early Metal Church or Vicious Rumors. Disc one stars off with a melodic intro before kicking up the tempo and breaking into a full throttle rocker. "Cyberchrist" is up next and is one of the standout cuts on disc one. This songs reminds me of the glory days of real power metal and bands like Metal Church, Steel Prophet and Vicious Rumors. Heavy Metal at it's finest.
I personally found disc two to be my favorite of the two. The songs are dynamic and quite diverse featuring plenty of memorable hooks. The slow grind of "Crawling" reminded me of Sacred Reich, or even Cowboys-era Pantera. "Never" slows things down even more to a Black Sabbath inspired doom feel. Other songs like "Vertigo" and "T.F.A.", which stands for Total F**king Annihilation", are straight up thrashers. "Greed (I Can't Believe)" starts off as an acoustic based song featuring only a guitar and vocalist T.J Berry before breaking into a heavy, mid-paced song complete with deep, menacing, thrash metal vocals.
Berry has a raspy voice with plenty of charisma and range. His mid-range vocals are aggressive and thrashy, He can also belt out some of those high pitched metal screams as well. After listening to this CD several times I was still perplexed as to who Berry reminded me of. He's certainly not a clone of any well known singer but his vocals do have some similarities to Matt Barlow at times and at other times to Jon Oliva and Chuck Billy.
For an independent release, "Soulreaper" is a more than impressive release. Even the packaging is totally progressional with wicked cover art by artistJowita Kaminska and a 12-page full color insert.