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Catamenia - Cavalcade - 70%

ThrashManiacAYD, March 2nd, 2010

You always have to wonder about bands like the winter-obsessed Finns Catamenia, wonder why on the eve of release of their 9th studio album in a 15-year career they have never made major shockwaves with the amount of releases that they have. Due to this fact I am only mildly acquainted with their back catalogue in the run-up to reviewing "Cavalcade"; a point in itself considering that given how closely I keep in touch with the metal world I should know them better by now.

"Cavalcade" as an album is essentially a highly melodic and catchy run through of the most Scandic elements of extreme metal, with mid-era In Flames the strongest reference point in a style best described as the oxymoron 'easy listening extreme metal'. Against 2005's "Winternight Tragedies", the album with which I can offer the greatest comparison, Catamenia have softened in the vocal department with a greater mix of clean, passionate vocals contrasting against the mid-level screams and growls, to create songs like the title track and "Post Mortem" which symptomise an album largely prosaic and static in song construction and performance.

That is not to say what Catamenia have done on "Cavalcade" isn't enjoyable; just that if you are looking for a challenging or properly extreme metal listen this is not the album for you. The standard song structures present are repeated across the first six songs, all of which fall between 4.20 - 4.59 long displaying a strong consistency in style, before "The Vulture's Feast" slows things down for a chorus sing-along in a manner reminiscent of every song on the album. And therein lies the crucial point for anyone approaching "Cavalcade", new or well-versed with Catamenia: it feels much of the template of each song is directly built around the hum-along chorus, taking "A Callous Mind" as an example. None of these moments are shit insipid excuses for a melody like many of today's biggest metal bands, but I feel that they are indeed frequent and strong enough to be too much for many a metalhead to take, crossing that fine line between a deployment of many a good melody against utilising sweet sing-along chorusses for the sake of it.

In the end, this is an album some people will love, while others will be totally nonplussed. Given it's decently likable nature and the fact I do not remember having seen Catamenia's name on too many a festival line-up over recent years, "Cavalcade" is certainly an album that deserves some decent tour backing and is ready built to instantly appeal to an audience waiting for it's combination of Scandic metal and pleasant catchy hooks.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net