Catharsis "s/t" CDPosted on Friday, September 22nd, 2006 @ 9:21am » permalink
I recently got an email asking me if I had ever posted about Catharsis, because I had mentioned planning to at some point, so here it is. Catharsis was from North Carolina and is almost synonymously linked to the activities of their infamous label (or "ex-workers' collective", rather), CrimethInc. Frontman Brian Dingledine was also the editor of the once mighty Inside Front fanzine, which was truly among the best of the best in its heyday. Dingledine and inside Front can also be credited with coining the term "holy terror" with regard to the classic form of apocalyptic metallic hardcore that was breeding during the mid-90's – most notably via the almighty Integrity of course, though the term was applied to Catharsis themselves on numerous occasions as well.
While Catharsis was always ten times more idealistic and "revolutionary" in thought than any other band having been associated with the "holy terror" style, their debut full-length – which contained their demo and debut 7" recordings from 1994/1995 – stands as my favorite release from their back catalog. While decidedly rawer and in some areas slightly sloppy compared to their later albums, there's a sense of chaotic fury and over the top anger/bitterness tucked away in the delivery (and in the lyrics) that the band never recaptured to this degree of sheer intensity.
Welcome to the holy day. This is the day that it all comes true. It will burn like a furnace. When the mouth of hell opens up before me, come suffering: Wash me of my impurities, teach me what it is to want more. Everywhere I turn, the despisers of the body – the despisers of the soul. Angels bleed out from their wounds, demons out from mine. Remind me what's at stake, drive me day and night. In this forsaken slaughterhouse, god forgot but I have not. I still know exactly what I want…
This collection in particular is certainly the band's work most fitting of the "holy terror" banner, and every god damn track is an absolute scorcher – right down to the covers of Breakdown's "Sick People" and Confront's "Our Fight" (each with slightly altered lyrics, which caused a minor stir back in the day in the case of the latter). Hell, the Breakdown cover is probably one of the greatest cover songs I've ever heard in my life. From pummeling dual guitar layering with churning speeds and thrashy picking patterns or crunchy midpaced breaks and dissonant undertones to the insane sneer of the scathing vocals, this shit is totally classic in my book. I had a hell of a hard time narrowing down the song selection to offer up with this one.
Catharsis broke up in 2002, with Dingledine most recently surfacing in Requiem – who I haven't heard since I saw them live a few years ago because I've inexplicably slacked for no apparent reason whatsoever. Although it might have a little something to do with the fact that Dingledine was constantly sucking face (almost literally) with his girlfriend at the show, and during their set made a bunch of hippie-ish remarks about wanting to make love to everyone in the room, which I found to be quite silly. I don't like hippie bullshit, what can I say? But seriously, Requiem seems to be pretty damn solid, so I should get off my ass in that department as well.
From what I can tell this disc is sadly out of print, though I believe CrimethInc. is cooking up some sort of Catharsis discography for the future, so hopefully that will indeed take shape so that a new breed of listeners can appreciate this masterful material.