Cataleptic
The Tragedy

Here’s an interesting one from FDA records. Released a bit before the latest Ophis album, Spew Forth Odium, earlier last autumn, The Tragedy is the third album from this Finnish doom act whom I have never heard and frankly had very little expectations for. The logo, the band/album name, the fact there are hardly any reviews out there for this album or any of the band’s other releases, as well as recently reviewing fellow doomy labelmates Ophis, just all kinda piled up and resulted in me overlooking this.

Well, I research the band a bit, find out that after some lineup changes from the last efforts, the members are/were also some pretty major Finnish heavyweights like Corpsessed, Soluthus, and Gorepillia and the album is a conceptual story based on a Greek warrior’s battles and betrayals,  (let’s be honest, I finally read the promo one-sheet that came with the album) and I’m always down for some historic battling.  So I revisited the album recently and came away very impressed.

What we have is something that, while in the doom realm, and certainly has one boot heavily planted in the familiar melodic but melancholic lope of the Finnish doom/death scene, there’s a lot more going on here, and it’s all very good. The varied moods and styles played by Cataleptic mirror the story of the album central character, and so the moods ebb and flow; from the more urgent clarion of battle that opens the album with “Alpha Strike”, which might be a Wolfheart or Insomnium number, with a sterner, fiercer gait, and pacing and a nice mid-song break. The second track “Disarmed. Disowned. Betrayed” features a blackened blast beat that might be on the last Altars of Grief album, Iris, and some meaty Aeternus ish , war-metal marching, so it definitely not just a full-on mopey doom fest.

That said, if you want some plodding, rending doom, with layers of typically Finnish melancholy, the last, 10+ minute cuts, (after 2 throwaway tracks “Whipped to Drudgery” and “Lost”) “Recompense in Death” and “To Burn This World (Omega Campaign)” deliver the pure doom heaves in throes of crushing despondency. The former with a lovely, somber acoustic last few minutes and the latter, a 13-minute monster, is a rending funeral doom slog of draining, ponderous melodies that their country mates and peers are more known for. The pace picks up for the last few minutes but it still has some gravitas within its rumbling climax (though I’m not sure about the gang chants). Vocalist Sami Iivonen doews an excellent job of bringing out the protagonist’s tribulation and pain in his already powerful bellow.

The album sounds amazing with an all-star Finnish cast in the production, mix, and master arena from Matti Mäkelä (Corpsessed) and Henri Sorvali (Finntroll, etc), so in all, yet another solid release from FDA records.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 6th, 2022

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