A good option for fans of Melodic Death Metal who enjoy European harmony blended with North American violence.
Austrian Melodic Death Metal band Mandatory is one of those cases where harmony and brutality walk hand in hand with each other, creating an electrifying sound perfect for live performances, which by the way helped this Linz-based quintet win the International Live Award in 2011 in Austria. Now with Catharsis, the band’s second full-length album, those guys deliver a more melodic and technical Death Metal than their previous releases without sounding too commercial or generic.
Although Catharsis is quite different from the band’s 2009 debut album Carbon Black, it’s still very technical and heavy, recommended for both fans of Melodic Death Metal and the more modern heavy music from North America. Moreover, do not expect to listen to old school Death or Thrash Metal, as the sounding in the whole album is very polished and even progressive depending on the song, similar to what bands such as Arch Enemy are doing today. You can indeed expect lots of shredding, guttural and clean vocals mixed, and fast and technical blast beats.
The opening track, End of Watch, can be summarized as pure European Melodic Death Metal with hints of American Metalcore, with its double bass boosting the very melodic guttural vocals. Then we have Act I: Tragedy, the first of three “acts” (or whatever the band wanted those to be) where its excellent instrumental, clean vocals and motivational lyrics (“Embrace the Light within / Shatter the Sky / Your pain and misery / Will purify your mind”) give a good balance to the song; and the slower but heavier To the Streets, a modern Thrash Metal tune the likes of contemporary Metallica and A7X, with some intense riffs and an interesting guitar solo perfect for some headbanging.
Emperor has the most Metalcore rhythm of all songs, especially its guitar duos, with highlights to its very polished production (enhancing the sounding of all instruments) and the political message in its lyrics (“You aren’t machines / You are not chained / To these ambassadors / Of hatred fear and despise”); while the very enjoyable Act II: Catharsis begins with an intense low riff before turning into fast Melodic Death Metal. It even flirts with progressive metal due to all its breaks, variations and the excellent work done by both guitarists Chris Hörmann and Manuel “Mani” Rohrauer.
Shadowmaker is another good melodic and very progressive tune, albeit not as heavy as the rest of the album, with its guitar solos reminding me of some old stuff done by Dream Theater; followed by For the World to See, which gets back to Melodic Death Metal with its clean vocals being once again a nice touch to the overall musicality. Finally, we have Act III: Purification, the last of the three “acts”, another progressive/melodic heavy track with uprising lyrics (“Rise Up! / Liberate your wisdom / Rise Up! / Let the storm break loose”), and closing the album we have Blueprint, the most Thrash/Death Metal track of all with highlights to its technical and professional instrumental and the nice sound effects on the background. In addition, it might only be a coincidence, but the three “acts” (add also “End of Watch” to this list) are the best songs of the album by far in my opinion.
You can purchase Catharsis at Mandatory’s official BandCamp page, where the album comes as a special edition with lots of extra stuff, or also at Amazon, iTunes and other online stores. Go for it if you’re a fan of the most modern type of Melodic Death Metal available in the market, uniting melody, violence and fun in heavy music.
Best moments of the album: End of Watch, Act I: Tragedy, Act II: Catharsis and Act III: Purification.
Worst moments of the album: To the Streets and For the World to See.
Released in 2014 Independent
1. End of Watch 3:53
2. Act I: Tragedy 4:15
3. To the Streets 6:53
4. Emperor 5:08
5. Act II: Catharsis 6:53
6. Shadowmaker 4:36
7. For the World to See 5:45
8. Act III: Purification 5:18
9. Blueprint 3:51
Markus Hundsberger – vocals
Chris Hörmann – guitars, backing vocals
Manuel “Mani” Rohrauer – guitars, backing vocals
Leo Wolfmayr – bass
Mike Pfaffenhuemer – drums, clean vocals