F U L L . R E V I E W S

Catch 22 - Awaken - 2003 Molten Metal USA Reviewed by EC

Track Listing
1. Betrayal Of The Masses
2. Form
3. Damaged
4. The Suffering
5. Into The Black
6. Blood On The Bricks
7. Awaken
8. Lost
9. Wicked From The Womb
10. Underneath
11. As Twilight Descends
12. The Otherside
13. Face Your Fate
This is the best record of the year. Bottom line. No ifs, ands, or buts, Catch 22 have managed to whip everyone's ass in 2003. Forget SuperJoint Ritual. Forget Godsmack (Ha!). Forget about all those teeny-bopper boy bands that America's radio wants to call metal. Catch 22 is HEAVY METAL, greased up, turned sideways, and shoved straight up mainstream rock's rosey red ass!

This album is just killer, and I would honestly say I have not been this supportive or excited about a record since Overkill's "I Hear Black" over 10 years ago.

Ohio's Catch 22 have awakened with their new album, "Awaken", the band's third release and first for Molten Metal. This record has stellar production and some of the sickest, most psychopathic vocals I've heard this far North of hell.

This record just attacks immediately with singer and lead guitarist TJ Berry screaming his nutsack off, giving the listener a precautionary warning of what they are about to hear:

Evilution. Devilution. Revolution.
Screaming metal on its way, and there's hell to pay!!

That opening vocal rampage just sets the tone for this grand opus of modern classic metal. TJ Berry pays homage to every metal fan out there who has played air guitar to the late great Criss Oliva. From opening track "Betrayal Of The Masses" to the last second of the record's closing track "Face Your Fate", this album just rips total ass. The guitars, drums, bass and vocals are played to perfection. I'm telling you folks, Catch 22 are not pulling any punches. This is the real deal.

1."Betrayal Of The Masses"- Jesus Christ what an opening track! Think Savatage meets bay area thrash, with a chorus that would make Chuck Billy soil his jeans. This one is red hot!

2."Form"- Another opening vocal tantrum here, with "Form" dealing with fake TV evangelists and the basic ideals of religion for money. Fabulous rhythm and a pounding metal battery.

3."Damaged"- Sort of a punky signature to this cut, with metal lashings and another blistering assault of bone crushing heaviness. Like Sabbath meets Overkill. Good God!!

4."The Suffering"- Short, eerie little mood piece that is played acoustic style. Basically just an intro for "Into The Black".

5."Into The Black"- Crushing Sabbath groove that chugs along at a smashing pace. Imagine Tony Iommi on guitar with Jon Oliva on the mike. No joke, Catch 22 pull it off masterfully. Acoustic little number right in the middle that turns into a soaring lead. Reminds me of Metallica's "Fade To Black". This one is just awe-inspiring and is one of the best tracks on the album.

6."Blood On The Bricks"- Some Southern-fried, New Orleans doom rips this song up with plenty of sick vocals from TJ. We are reaching metal orgasm at this point of the record.

7."Awaken"- The title track pulls out the darkness and gloom here, with spooky acoustic guitars and some strange vocals. "Awaken" inside the crystal dream! About 2 minutes into this one we get a new wave romp through the Maiden and Priest backyard. Great tradeoff with TJ Berry and D. Hall on the six strings.

8."Lost"- You're Lost Again. You're Lost Again! Monsterous groove attack here, with plenty of banshee wails and those lovely gang chants again.

9."Wicked From The Womb"- Some more atmosphere added on this, with the use of some creepy keyboards. A minute and a half into this one the song just explodes. Bay area thrash like Exodus, Testament, and Forbidden. At this point you have to wonder if the band sold their souls to the devil. Metal bliss!! Punishing leads and a scary sense of timing.

10."Underneath"- Another groove based choice here with plenty of amazing guitar melody. Perfectly penned tune about back stabbing and deceit. TJ is a maniac.

11."As Twilight Descends"- This is the first part of the "Where Darkness Is Divine" trilogy. The eerie acoustic atmosphere returns for this cut. This song reminds me of Savatage's "Strange Wings". Amazing track with a beautiful arrangement.

12."The Otherside"- This band can simply do no wrong. The trilogy continues at a rapid pace, galloping along like Iced Earth with twin guitar like Maiden and Boston. This one is a real barn burner.

13."Face Your Fate"- More maniacal screams punctuate this conclusion to the trilogy. Disturbing psychopathic vocals and a whirlwind of soaring melody. Great closer to the record.

Again I want to say this is the best record of 2003. If you like HEAVY METAL, then this is a must.

Catch 22 have set the new standard for the next generation of metal.

--EC 9.26.03
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

AwakenCatch 22
Eric Compton9/26/2003
Soulreaper Vol.1Catch 22
Troy Cole9/21/2007
Soulreaper: Evilution/DevilutionCatch 22
Eric Compton11/14/2008

MonumentalCatch 22
Eric Compton10/8/2011

TJ BerryCatch 22Eric Compton9/29/2003


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