Catharsis - Pathways to Wholeness. 1995 USA

Catharsis were an obscure prog/tech thrash metal act from San Diego that came and went without notice and this album is incredibly scarce. 1995 was a little late to dinner for this type of metal, and the fact it only managed a release on an obscure Danish imprint couldn't have helped matters. Meaning, it would have been expensive to buy one back home for the local audience, if such an audience even existed. During this time, I used to buy albums just like this from a mail order firm in Indiana, and I don't recall this title at all. Or... it was too expensive... ha! By pure happenstance I secured a new one for $8 within the last month. So what do we have here anyway?

Well, you're a band from San Diego and you play a complex form of metal. Now who could possibly have been an influence here? You can bet your sweet bippy on it - Psychotic Waltz. Which means aces from me anyway. It's a guidepost, but of course with music such as this, the possibilities are endless, and Catharsis has their own unique recipe. You'll hear other early 90s variations on this same sound (Anacrusis, Realm, etc..). The music is heavy metal that is densely complex, with undertones of thrash and jazz fusion, the latter is slipped in naturally and unobtrusively. The vocals are genre-standard higher pitch, and somehow fits the music - once your ears have adjusted to this style. 'Casting Stones' has to be heard to be believed, a labyrinthian composition that will keep you guessing throughout.

Certainly Catharsis isn't the first album you should own in this most unique of metal genres. Nor will it be given its scarcity. But for deep divers, and that's who you will be if you're reading this, it's one to buy if you see it. Experience tells me music like this tends to grow in stature over repeated listens, once your brain is able to comprehend the contents within.

Personal collection
CD: 1997 Nordic Metal (Denmark)

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