Review Summary: This is truly a legendary album... in reaching new levels of suckage.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Genericness has officially become a trademark of metalcore. Maybe not, but with the recent myriad of trash, it's well on its way. Hearing Catherine's sophomore outing, their debut being self-released, the last thing that would've entered my mind was a follow-up that would worship such a trend. That's to say, it was already pretty far in terms of genericness. But heck, the title "Rumor Has It: Astaroth Has Stolen Your Eyes" was something you couldn't snub, and even though Brian Lemasters was somewhat specific when it came to the vocal work, there was at least something that I could grasp. Truth is, there was some spark of mental impression over the bands overall sound. When Brian shortly after left the band, it seems he really had burned the bridges behind him, so to speak. With The Naturals
, I have come to the conclusion that Catherine is a very boring band with a sad career, and an uninteresting one to come.
The treatment Catherine has received upon their pre-televised development, if you will, has been no different from the rest. First there's the empty promise of the band themselves, guaranteeing a musical breakthrough, then followed by a fusion of press heralding and fanboy insanity. But truth be told, The Naturals
shows the huge step down this band undergoes, especially with the fact that the uncontrollable need to appeal to a bigger fanbase is so downright conspicuous. The constant overuse of the same formula isn't the only problem anymore, it's just horribly annoying. By the time I was listening to the album the second time, I thought to myself, hey, maybe the album is just potentially more likeable. But to be fair, there is little wiggleroom, and I have reached the very same conclusion each time I listen. A lack of leeway would be an understatement, this album just plain sucks.
The change of vocal style is instantly noticeable. Where Lemaster's utilized a hefty and unpolished growl, Nick Bradwell takes the term generic to new levels, using forced screams which show no variation at all. While the predominance of harsh vocals was an apparent trait in Catherine's previous efforts, the choruses are now sung cleanly, re-enacting the whole Killswitch Engage idea. It's all unthoughtfully spilled out just to please the average teenagers limited knowledge of good music, and to break away from the harsh vocals in an attempt to be 'epic'. Yet the clean vocals are far from aesthetic. If anything, I am finding it hard not to classify the album as Post Hardcore.
As for the instrumentation, not a lot need be said. Guitarist Robert Tobin often busts out a melodic riff accompanied by a heavy note on the rhythm guitar, while the time signature remains very similar during each song. There are very few breakdowns on the album, all of which are pretty simplistic. The only stand out song is Through Art A Villain
which is more easy to digest and actually features catchy harsh vocals at the end, screaming "There's no heroes". The song is rather melodic but riff-oriented, with a fluctuating verse that then ends in a short instance of sweep picking. That said, the songs are hardly memorable. Perhaps the drumwork by Julio Garcia is most interesting. Although not groundbreaking, the drums set a great tempo through out the album.
Clocking in at just 34 minutes, I'm happy that it ended so soon. Apart from the song Through Art A Villain
, the album is extremely bland and painfully annoying, and well, all songs taken into consideration, very one-dimensional. If the album does turn out commercially successful, then its target audience is bound to be very limited, as The Naturals
is not worth the safety of your hearing. The generic sound that the band have decided to create is simply redundant and unpleasant, their efforts crippled further by the new vocalist. If you do happen to buy the album, stow it somewhere in your house where it is out of reach to anybody in your family, your friends and your neighbors.