The Hallowed Catharsis – Killowner

Band: The Hallowed Catharsis
Title: Killowner
Label: Lacerated Enemy Records
Release Date: 02 June 2020
Country: Canada
Format Reviewed: Digital Stream

Vancouver, Canada’s THE HALLOWED CATHARSIS are clearly a band who know that you can have too much of a good thing, especially when that particular “good thing” is some 100mph, in your face progressive death metal. Prior to this their latest 14min EP “Killowneer”, the band had put out two EPs and what I guess is technically an LP, the 32min “Solar Cremation” from 2017. This highly-creative, extremely proficient, aggressive, brand of death metal the band create is exhilarating, but I probably would fatigue after 45min of this, so I think they have the right approach with these smaller doses.

While “Solar Cremation” has some extremely heavy passages, overall I hear more of the progressive metal than I do here on “Killowner”, where the extreme savage delivery is really to the fore. And that is no bad thing as far as I’m concerned. Opening with a bit of a jazzy swing intro that in no way prepares you for the carnage to follow, I hear maybe a MR. BUNGLE influence lurking in the band’s DNA. In general though I hear more CRYPTOPSY, MORBID ANGEL, and SOILENT GREEN as a whole, but there’s also this creative playfulness the band have in their back pocket. As soon as the main riffing of “Abduction Sequence” kicks in with its dun-dun-dun fat death metal stylings you will realise that you have 14min of being kicked down a hill in a washing machine ahead of you. The drums are huge, as is the blubbery bass. Very nice!

Through “Forced mutation”, with its stomping groove and head-spinning riffing and the ridiculously fast double bass of “Breeding Pit” the band move seamlessly from one track to the next, so that you may not in fact realise where one track stops and the next starts. At this point the EP has its first clear momentary break into “Swap Meat” which showcases a bit of a NAPALM DEATH vibe and something of a mechanised FEAR FACTORY feel about it though more frenetic and extreme.

The playing throughout is faultless and the vocals pull off that rare feat of delivering growing death metal that you can just about make out the words from. The closest reference point I hear is Ben Falgoust from SOILENT GREEN and GOATWHORE. As I mentioned earlier there is the occasional musical feel of the former band, but without the schizophrenia leaps from one riff to the next. That’s no criticism of SOILENT GREEN who I think are tremendous, but as mental and in-your-face as this music is, it’s actually a bit easier to get your head around than SOILENT GREEN, well it was for me anyway.

 “Strays” slows down to a brooding trudge and into a MORBID ANGEL reminiscent riff. This is a catchy one and there’s also a bit of a PANTERA groove thrown in towards the end. The final track “Killowner” is a crazy hellish maelstrom to start with that morphs into a spooky, bobbing riff and pummelling drums.

I’m always sceptical when I read reviews where the reviewer says “as soon as this finished I put it back to the start and played it again”. I’d probably need a break if this was a 45min LP, but after 14min of this I am always left feeling like I want more. And that can’t be a bad thing. 8.5/10 Tom Boatman

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8.5/10 : To Greatness and Glory!
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