Prototype
Catalyst


4.5
superb

Review

by pbass0 USER (8 Reviews)
October 5th, 2012 | 8 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Guitar Hero may have gotten them exposure, but it does not do this band justice. Proggy and full of thrash metal, Catalyst packs a punch.

Some things come and go; bellbottom jeans, high socks, flower skirts, and bowl cuts are good examples. However, some trends just never seem to die, rather they get more refined with age. This is exactly what happened in the music scene - more notably in the punk/crossover/thrash genre. While bands like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, and Rancid have arguably seen their peak, new bands are rising to fill in the gaps. One of the bands worth mentioning is Prototype. Unfortunately, how I discovered this band isn’t exactly noble, as my first listen was from Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Although, I am glad that I heard at least one of their songs.

Prototype are a thrash metal band from California that mixes the full-on moshing sections of “Big Four” legends, Anthrax, with the progressive/more technical parts from Dream Theater. To be honest, the song they have featured on Guitar Hero doesn’t even come close to giving them the exposure they deserve.

I never would have expected such a band to sneak in so expertly 5/4 and 6/8 time signatures around 4/4 thrash pieces, while at the same time have the band members explore so confidently jazz and atmospheric sections. And the thing is, none of this seems overwhelming. Besides the oddball song or two, the whole album flows really well even though it is about an hour long.

Throughout the album, the instruments are outstanding. The transitions seem concise and to the point. The guitars are what mainly impress me though. The solos are melodic and soaring but also screaming with a metal vengeance. Although the solos are spectacular, what astounds me the most is what happening behind the solos. Normally, bands play a simple chord progression behind a solo, but not this band.

Prototype transports the listener into progressive heaven as the bass shreds nearly as much as the lead guitar does and drummer shows off some jazz beats here and there. Even the rhythm guitar takes a break playing the main rhythm and adds some extra flavor to the guitar solos.

Another point worth mentioning is that the vocalist occasionally adds some unclean vocals to the mix (sounding similar to Behind Silence and Solitude era Phil Labonte). This is a very daring step that I don’t think most bands with progressive instruments would implore. While this may scare some people away, these vocals aren’t used often enough to deter too many potential fans.

Clearly, this band has been paying attention to the recent progressive explosion in metal over the past few years. Lead vocalist, Vince Levalois, pulls of the voice of Joey Belladonna of Anthrax mixed with a Mastodon delivery; comparatively, his other band mates concoct a platter of riffs, melodies, jazz parts, and solos more than impressive enough to make any casual listener a hardcore fan in an instant.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lambda
October 5th 2012


2422 Comments


Wow, they finally have another album out. I'll have to check this out.

Cipieron
October 5th 2012


3508 Comments


Continuum was a good album. From what I've heard this isn't as good, but maybe I just need to listen to it more.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2012


6098 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album stream: http://rockonaut.bandcamp.com/album/catalyst


Proggy and full of thrash metal

Apart from the eponymous song and the double bass drumming patterns of Pat Magrath, nothing else is "proggy and thrash" in here.

If anything else, Catalyst leans more to traditional/"linear" heavy metal than to prog/thrash.

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2012


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I must say I was quite disappointed by this. Some songs are great, but the LP is overlong and not coherent enough.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2012


6098 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I know what you mean greg, although i find this more interesting than you do.

It's a bit closer to a 3.5 atm, no higher than that though.

jybt
October 5th 2012


344 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I seem to be the only reviewer who did not enjoy this album much. The title track is quite solid and this is one case where the riffs and vocals are great, plus there are the sneaky time signature changes from 4/4, although elsewhere the structures are quite repetitive and the vocals are annoyingly strained, and most every song blends into the next; I'm also curious where the bass shredding is supposed to be, because I hear almost no standout bass. Though the production quality is decent, its heaviness, clarity, and easiness on the ears are diminished by overly squashed mastering similar to Neil Kernon's recent production work. I did enjoy the quiet, jazzy instrumental pieces, but as for prog-thrash in 2012, "AnhedoniA" by Teramaze is far more engaging.

It's also quite strange how I came up with the sneaky time signature changes and the similarity of the singer to Mastodon's...I had to do a double take upon reading this! Nicely written review and hope this album still sells well despite my outlook, since this genre seems reasonably popular in the modern age.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2012


6098 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ jybt

This album is far better than you present it to be.

As I said, these guys took a conscious turn towards classic metal with discrete thrash and prog/jazz elements, with the former residing more in Pat Magrath's exceptional drumming and less in the guitars and the latter used just as a merely good excuse for breaking the tension in between some songs.

This shift in style was decided by the band probably on the grounds of the latter being more comfortable in narrating its concept story. In that respect I'm okay with this, as I'm also more than okay with the conversation between clean and guttural vocals which works quite well, although it's not something deeply engaging or original.

jybt
October 6th 2012


344 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I am indeed quite puzzled why I don't like this, or didn't. My extreme minority opinion is pulling me towards giving it another look.



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