No need to beat around the bush here; The Catharsis’ Romance is an album you need to own. This is 32 minutes of the most uncompromising, unforgiving and down-right memorable hardcore and it’s a beautiful yet violent display of anger.
Right, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Romance is a hardcore record at heart and fans of Bastions, Converge, Gallows and Palm Reader will have plenty to enjoy. But simply calling this a hardcore record would be doing it a serious injustice. The whole records flows and weaves its’ songs together with finesse and manages to bludgeon you with riffs at the same time. The guitar work from Ash, Mikey and Matt is hugely memorable, expertly played and comes with heaps of hardcore stomp. The riffing on Romance absolutely tears through this release and the thunderous bass pops and twangs, punctuating every chord.
Let’s not forget vocalist Morgan and drummer Chris who play equally important parts. The drumming on Romance sounds like pure fury and Chris sounds like he’s destroying his body with this level of intensity. The drum work makes this release sound phenomenally huge. This is hardcore that doesn’t deserve to stay confined to the small stages.
Now let’s talk about Morgan. Here’s a vocalist who embodies everything a front man should be. Despite being predominantly a screamer, his vocals are wonderful tales of loss, anger and heart break and his vocals are clear throughout the entire release. Morgan also does a fantastic job of avoiding the hardcore trope of simply screaming over the music with no real structure. Morgan’s vocals work with the rhythm of the songs and reinforce the visceral nature of this entire release. He even manages to muster a cheeky laugh on Heart Burner that manages to make him sound “human” despite the fact he’s tearing his throat apart for the majority of Romance. Morgan should be proud of his performance on Romance because he manages something most screamers can only dream of; he sounds truly honest.
The Catharsis have not only put together one of the best hardcore releases this year but it deserves to be recognised as one of the best heavy albums ever made. There is no filler, padding or interludes on Romance; everything was put on this record for a reason. A record this intense has no place being so accessibly catchy but The Catharsis have managed to do exactly that. Listen to this album and then tell everyone you know about it. It really is that good.