Cataleptic – The Tragedy

In the majority of metal-playing nations, Cataleptic would probably be one of the top bands in their field of expertise, melodic death doom, but being Finnish, their fame has so far been overshadowed by several big names, both from the past and from more recent times, who have taken the subgenre to its highest levels in their homeland and beyond. The band, founded in the early years of the century by Juha Karjalainen (drums) and Sami Iivonen (guitar and vocals), both of whom also belong to Solothus, has tried to carve out some space in the last decade with two full lengths, Strength Within (2011) and Forward (2017), passed rather quietly and, in fact, the same risk may run even this latest The Tragedy, as in its first half Cataleptic offer a sound much more oriented to melodic death, well executed but unable to affect in depth; luckily things change radically starting from Lost, the fourth track, where the doom component begins to manifest itself with decision, coinciding with a greater compositional consistency and a not banal guitar work, thus starting a crescendo that culminates with the two last and long tracks, Recompense In Death and To Burn This World, definitely at the antipodes for intensity compared to the little task proposed in the first twenty minutes of the work: in fact, the sound becomes more varied, sometimes reflective, full of melodic cues finally memorable and imbued with that melancholic aura that is a founding element in similar works. The goodness of this final half hour amply compensates the lack of jumps shown at the beginning of the album. Cataleptic tend to be rougher than Kaunis Kuolematon and more direct than Marianas Rest, but ending an album in crescendo, with the best tracks placed at the end of the tracklist, can be a double-edged sword, because after a quick first listening I was already oriented to dismiss The Tragedy as a pleasant but not essential work; on the other hand, doing so is sure to leave good memories in the most patient and applied listener, even if this work for the Helsinki quartet must be the ideal starting point to focus the compositional effort in this direction, otherwise the final relegation in the ranks of death doom.

2021 – F.D.A. Records