It should come as no surprise to the folks who listened to 2008’s VIII - The Time Unchained
that Catamenia’s latest album follows along the same path of sheer mediocrity. The band had their roots deeply entrenched in the likes of melodic black metal back on such albums as Chaos Born
and Location: COLD
, however with Cavalcade
the band has gone for a style which best represents some bastardized form of power metal which hints ever so slightly at black metal but for all intents and purposes doesn’t set foot through the door. In fact, it’s fairly safe to say that the band has forgone all association with their former selves in favor of a watered-down, halfhearted shell that is slowly but surely sinking to the depths. Lackluster melodies and god-awful clean vocals plague an album which tries too hard to be catchy and enjoyable in that sort of sense where the only replay value lies in the fact that the music is fun to listen to. Instead, the fun is inadvertently left behind in favor of monotony and a false sense of grandeur.
The instruments are a wash; they go absolutely nowhere. The guitars meander around piss-poor melodies which seem to always rehash themselves at some point later in the album. When the harmonized leads aren’t present the rhythm section lies hopelessly inadequate to keep any form of interesting chord progressions while the lead guitar sort of blends in with the crowd. What’s really mind-boggling is that three people are credited with doing the guitar work which, in an ideal situation, no more than one competent guitarist would be needed to achieve. There are moments where the melodies are, admittedly, ear-catching when teamed with the vocals, and during songs like the title track or “The Vulture’s Feast” the music gives the listener a false sense of hope that what is to come may improve upon what at first comes off as an amateur melodic death/power metal band’s promo. It’s also worth mentioning that the drums and bass guitar never at one point grab your attention, instead shamelessly hiding themselves in a performance which is no more than passable.
It’s a nice change of pace when “The Vulture’s Feast” comes in to slow things down from the virtual carbon copies which make up songs one through six, all of which range from 4:20 to 4:59 and whose structures are nearly identical. The way the laziness in songwriting bleeds through is unforgivable, and the soulless music doesn’t help the situation at all. Cavalcade
is a complete mess of an album. It’s not god-awful or even close to unlistenable, it’s just so painfully dull that you really won’t catch yourself wanting to listen to more than a song or two. The overbearing use of Kari Vahakuopus’ clean vocals, which alone are lifeless and one-dimensional, coupled with the instrumental display is almost embarrassing. So, it’s a nice change when Ari Nissila’s harsh vocals enter the picture, because they are the only piece of the puzzle which even slightly resembles what positives Catamenia had in their past. Cavalcade
doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the future of Catamenia, because if they continue going in the direction they’re heading I’m sure that there will be nobody left to enjoy their music down the road.