One of the pleasures reserved for those who, for pleasure, find themselves listening daily to a flood of musical proposals, with the aim then to tell those who want to read if it may be worthwhile or not to linger their attention on a record, is to discover reality hitherto unknown able to hit with immense force. Catapult The Dead are an example that fits perfectly with respect to what I just expressed: the American band, of which objectively I did not know the existence, having escaped me at the time the only previous work, All Is Sorrow, released in 2014, is the author of a half masterpiece of doom death sludge, one of those works capable of psychically distorting the listener for intensity and painful approach to the genre. Beyond the rather strange moniker, this quintet from Oakland immediately fires one of the most beautiful songs of the year heard in this stylistic field, Till It Goes Away, an amazing set to music of a cry of pain of eight minutes: the impact of this track is also melodic of lacerating beauty and the torment evoked by the voice of Ben Hiteman is exactly what is needed to increase disproportionately the feeling of embarking on a journey with no return to the depths of the human psyche. As it often happens, placing a song of such thickness in the opening of the work is likely to detract from what will come next, but the band from California succeeds in the not easy task of making the progression of their music more and more painful, ranging between sludge, post-hardcore and of course the preponderant doom element, which all in all turns out to be an ideal exasperation of the classic matrix rather than a more orthodox funeral death version. So Anti Aether appears as a marble monument to the incommunicability before Last Breath, introduced by an unexpected church organ, brings everything back to a level of angry despair where traces of melody resurface similar to an ointment with a palliative effect, unable to really soothe the wounds, and the final Burning Womb leads back again to a more emotional impact, although the vocals of Hiteman are constantly aimed at screaming without a moment’s failure all their painful resentment. A Universal Emptiness is one of the surprises of the year, is an album whose intensity becomes spasmodic at times and what may seem a flaw for those who do not know what doom is (the monolithic pace, the voice that refuses a priori any hint of formal cleanliness), becomes the essential nourishment for the soul capable of satiating those who love the genre.

2017 – Doom Stew Records