Cataleptic - The Tragedy

After two epic heavy albums, Finland’s death doom group Cataleptic seem to have restrained themselves a bit for their third full length entitled “The Tragedy.” Still focusing on a historical/ philosophical standpoint like their previous works, the music is still drawn out epics but no track scales past 15 minutes this time. While fans are given more of a variety of tracks versus maybe 4 or 5 with one stretching to a 20 plus minute mark, the sound is still very rooted into the Cataleptic style. New fans will enjoy long mournful guitar riffs, thick plodding drums, clean production, deep growls and overall a very dark sound that still hits hard. While this isn’t quite gothic doom or melancholic doom, the pretty cut and dry death doom is back to basics formula and still quite enjoyable. It can be very easily compared to the likes of Ex Deo or even Evadne (minus the clean vocals). ‘Alpha Strike’ opens the album with a rather fast paced mix of death doom- almost like melo death more than doom. The track does slow down to more foreboding tones, but overall the pace is a bit faster than what many might expect for a doom album.

Other tracks like ‘Disarmed…’ are more death metal style; they hit harder and lose some of the melancholy. But we get that back with ‘Whipped To Drudgery’ which is rather short and may come as a surprise to listeners with the spoken word parts as this is a bit of a departure from the usual expectation of Cataleptic’s sound which is more drawn out, and yet still thunderous. ‘Lost’ is also short but focuses more on melody with single picked notes and overall stands as a highlight for the album with its balance of melo death and doom together. ‘Recompense’ brings back more of the familiar sound with the heavier doom tones much like ‘Alpha Strike.’ It is still clean sounding but more grim with the riffs, although somewhat repetitive in the melodies. However the outro is fantastically emotional with the acoustic guitar and takes Cataleptic to a higher level that hasn’t really been heard on the album yet.

For those looking for the heavy, epic death doom that trudges along with plenty of melody, then ‘To Burn the World…’ is probably as close as one can get to the epic proportions that older fans of Cataleptic might be used to. While the sound is more cohesive and less dark and gloomy compared to earlier tracks, the group adds in a few more elements like choir singing/ chanting in the background to keep things interesting. As a result it doesn’t quite hit on the atmospheric level that ‘Recompense’ does but it still hits hard with the guitar and anguished vocal tones. Production overall doesn’t bury anything and keeps the album solid with little room for error in instrumentation. While the band does give up some of their trademark epic-ness, they show a little bit more variety and accessibility with some of the shorter tracks to newer fans who might not be used to such long and heavy hitting epics such as ‘Disown’ from their previous album “Forward.” 

Overall “The Tragedy” is a thunderous achievement for the group that will retain their old fans and definitely grant them new ones. While the historical elements of the album that seems to focus on Roman warriors isn’t as cut and dry as a concept album like “Caligvla” from Ex Deo, Cateleptic still get the concept across cleanly without swirling things in abrasive muck too much to turn listeners away, and still hit hard in death doom fashion.

3.5 / 5 STARS

1. Alpha Strike
2. Disarmed. Disowned. Betrayed
3. Whipped To Drudgery
4. Lost
5. Recompense In Death
6. To Burn This World (Omega Campaign)