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Catharsis "s/t" CD

Posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2006 @ 9:21am » permalink

Catharsis - s/tI 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 "Fall"
Catharsis "Ritualized"
Catharsis "Sick People" (Breakdown cover)

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.


  1. great album, great band. Those who like this should check out the entire catalog – the Samsara LP and the split with Newborn (another band worth covering) are essential.

  2. Tyrone says:

    I listen to Passion on an almost daily basis.

    You should check out Requiem. The LP is pretty solid.

  3. Howard says:

    Andrew, great job doing a write-up on this criminally underrated band. Their music remains as intense to me as the first time I heard them years ago, and to me they (along with Integrity) epitomized the holy terror moniker. I personally find the Samsara LP to be the best representation of their abilities, but Passion was equally great for its more diverse sound. A shame that few people have even heard of this band, let alone their music.

  4. OpaqueS says:

    Requiem is a bit different but very good. Check it out!

  5. Redeemer says:

    Anyone know what release had the songs "Spiral" and "One Hundred Years"?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sick record. Strongest line up on a lot of these songs [2/5 Undying], to bad as the song writing got better [Samsara], and the energy and ideology grew, the talent took a nose dive, except for drummer [last trial record, WOJ, 3 inches of blood]. One hundred years= …In Solitary? On this record and Samsara. Spirals= not sure. Except for half a handful of songs everything they ever recorded was amazing. Total suck live. Great Review.

  7. Anonymous says:

    One of the best bands ever. I'm still blown away every time I put on the Samsara and Passion albums.

  8. desintegrado says:

    yeah, a really good band, samsara is a great album and i didn't know they sounded so "holyterror" in the beginning…

    i also agree with the hippie-ish shit around them…i remember when they played in madrid around 3-4 years ago and you know, we are the country of bullfighting, inquisition and shit, so Dingledine tried to make a joke like "what about a new version of bullfighting with a car instead of a bull and a car instead of a bullfighter, so that they priest would die? wouldn't it be cool, huh?". Trying to mix anti-church and and antibullfight things in one…

    I've never been to a bullfight and i'm not even baptised(ok, i know it's a rare thing in spain anyways…), but 100% of people who goes to punk-crust-hardcore-whatever shows don't like bullfight, don't like priests(christian hardcore it's a totally weird and bizarre thing in europe) and, more important, we don't even care about that, it's not a part of our lives and we don't need anybody to preach about something that we already agree with…

    but that happens all the time with crust bands, quite annoying and boring…


    It's pretty hard to make out the words, but this is from an old Catharsis interview:

    …we covered the old Confront song "Our Fight" and changed the lyrics so they would be anti-sexism and anti-homophobia. Some of those guys are in OLC now, and for some reason they didn't like that (which doesn't reflect well on them). In fact, when they re-recorded "Our Fight" for the Victory CD, they originally said, "Fight me, Catharsis!" at the beginning of it. Tony Brummel made them take it off so we wouldn't get any free publicity, though.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How did this band alter the lyrics to "Our Fight"? I love the original, and I'm curious to hear what Catharsis' take on it was…

  11. great band, great writeup. Looking forward to the discography. The LPs are also great.

    Requiem is very similar to Catharsis, but a little more complex with violins and stuff. It's good though.

  12. Anonymous says:

    where did they release FALL. strange i thought i got all records.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I'm looking for the whole track list for there first cd [eponymous]. I have not heard it since 1996. It played 8 tracks and then played the album backwards. cool.

  14. Mike Gluck says:

    If anyone has the Catharsis-s/t CD, original, I will pay well for it or trade extremely generously. Let me know. -Mike

  15. Anonymous says:

    i think it's pretty funny that there's these people who always throw in their 2 cents on a review or otherwise, regarding when/what/who of such obscure bands as catharsis, it's almost as if they get off somehow on the fact that they know all this data, even if it's done anonymously.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous above– is the scene so important for you to care that much? There are other things in life worth talking about.

  17. REFUTARE says:

    fucking band, great songs angry, great lyrics of hate.

  18. […] Aversion Online review and commentary of their first S/T CD […]

  19. i love catharsis i have passion on cd and vinyl i'm looking for the self titled album and samsara currently and i just actually ordered requiem storm heaven and should get it in the mail anyday now can't wait for that i'm hunting down everything from crimthinc currently

  20. i know have samsara and passion on cd and i have passion on vinyl i have a burnt copy of eponymous on cd but i dont think it's the whole album i'm currently searching for eponymous "the actual copy" and i can't wait to find it i also have requiem "storm heaven" on cd

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