Monday, April 12, 2010

CATHARSIS: Discography

There is plenty of information and posts on Catharsis in the blog world, but none of them are accurate or complete. I decided to take it upon myself to amend this with an informative, sort-of-discography from this band.

Catharsis was the project of one Brian Dingledine; notorious at the time for his contributions via the Inside Front zine ... also notorious for having vocals sounding like that of "the sound of a grizzly bear being raped by a dinosaur". Starting off in 1994; the band initially leaned moreso towards the "hardcore" end of the spectrum as opposed to whatever it was they progressed into towards the end of their existence. Debuting with a two song. cassette demo entitled "Fall", the band nearly simultaneously entered Mars Studio in Cleveland, OH to put what would become their debut, self-titled 7" to tape. Not long after, Catharsis returned to the studio where they cut their initial demo to record two tracks for various compilations. 100 Years In Solitary would be featured on the Area 51 Compilation along with "holy terror contemporaries" Integrity and two others while a re-interpreted version of Confront's (pre-One Life Crew) "Our Fight" would be contributed to a compilation 7" that would be included with a copy of Brian's Inside Front zine.

All of these tracks are included on the "Eponymous" CD which essentially served as compilation of all early material from the band. Also included on this CD is a cover of Breakdown's "Sick People" which rips possibly harder than the original. This was recorded at the same time of their self-titled 7" (which was released on Endless Fight Records, btw) but was not included on said 7". I'm assuming it's from a compilation. The CD also includes the entire album being played backwards along with some special effects. Sound familiar?

The band's first official full length would be released on the newly-founded "collective" which would be known to the world as Crimethinc. Initially starting primarily as a record label, Crimethinc would go on to become a sort-of umbrella in which many of Brian's efforts would fall under. Later evolving into an "ex-worker's collective", the initiative would gain much notoriety through the publication of many standard anarchist readings such as "Days Of War, Nights Of Love", "An Anarchist's Cookbook: Recipes For Disaster" and "Expect Resistance". While also continuing in the practice of releasing albums from musical acts, the collective also currently partakes in the distribution of free literature and other paraphernalia promoting everything from gender neutrality to small-time crime to straight up arson. Crazy to see what essentially resulted from a typical 90s fanzine.

Anyhow, about Samsara (the debut full length) ... it's perfect. Featuring re-recordings of a few of the aforementioned demo, 7", and compilation tracks; the album also features several new tracks which show obvious musical and lyrical progression. I would start quoting the lyrics, but there is absolutely no reason to post a single line without posting the entire album's worth; they're that good. With several tracks that would serve as the pre-cursor to many North Carolina metalcore acts (Undying), the album pushes further into the "metalcore" realm while still maintaining the intensity incapable of being matched by the crustiest of punk bands. One can only imagine the live show.

I also included the splits recorded with Newborn and Newspeak as separate downloads. I included both sides of the split because both bands rage ALMOST as hard as Catharsis. Newborn from Hungary present three tracks that are somewhat reminiscent of what With Honor was doing towards the end of their career. Melodic, progressive hardcore that sounds somewhat inspired by Shai Hulud with the occasional batch of clean vocals. While a bit more experimental than the sometimes-standard sounding American bands of the style, Newborn definitely holds their own on this split that was released by Scorched Earth Policy out of Germany.

Newspeak was from Brazil and present 7 tracks of what would roughly be described as "screamo" if the description had to be given in one word. Screamy, fast, and thrashy tracks are put up against a three-song, live basement recording by Catharsis featuring two tracks from Samsara and a track called Unbowed. A lot of spoken word is included throughout the set. The same set of songs were originally included as part of a split with Gehenna, only to be re-released a year or two later in South America and on Crimethinc with Newspeak. While Catharsis' contribution to this split is nowhere near as poignant as the exclusive track, Arsonist's Prayer (from the Newborn split), it is still quite intriguing to hear the band's re-interpretation of older tracks.

While I wish you best of luck on finding copies of either Samsara or Eponymous (sometimes referred to as self-titled), I strongly urge you to go over to Crimethinc's site and pick up a copy of Passion while its still available. There are actually a lot of other thought-provoking albums and books on the site that are worth your time. While I'm not 100% in accordance with the outlook of Crimethinc, select readings and artists are definitely worth your time. Browse around and check for yourself.

DOWNLOAD - Eponymous
DOWNLOAD - Samsara
DOWNLOAD - Passion
DOWNLOAD - Newborn split
DOWNLOAD - Newspeak split


mattack said...

Thanks for the reverent look back at my old band! I want to add and correct a few things.

Both Jimmy and Jonathan from UNDYING were members of CATHARSIS in the early days and played on at least some of the tracks on the eponymous release (though it was recorded before my time so I could be wrong about who recorded it).

Live in the Land of the Dead, released as splits with GEHENNA and NEWSPEAK,was not recorded on a radio show. It was live in my friend's small studio. I think we did a few takes and took what we thought was the best one. There was also a never-released cover song recorded at that session... It may never see the light of day.

NEWBORN went on to become BRIDGE TO SOLACE, and get even better.

All the bands we did splits with were/are just as good, if not better than us.

I'm still humbled that people *still* think we were an important band, even after almost 10 years...

When reading CrimethInc literature, I advise keeping your critical thinking cap on (and your plagiarism radar alert as well). There's a lot of problematic ideas there.

AJ said...

I actually did some research on Newborn and found both of those Bridge To Solace albums. Very cool and up my alley yet somewhat standard sounding in comparison to what Newborn was doing.

Catharsis was/is essentially the anthem for all of those rowdy anarchists. Real deal shit.

Anyhow, my bad on the radio show comment. I own physical copies of every other Catharsis recording minus that split (hence not being able to find where Newspeak was from).

But yeah, I'm with you on the Crimethinc material ... but at the same time I do think it's worth reading.

mattack said...

Ahh... NEWSPEAK was from Brazil.

Death Metal Dan said...

One of my all-time favorite bands. I did a post about them a while back on my blog (Severed Forever). I saw this band on a few different occassions (once in North Philly opening for Guilt during the 7" days and then a couple times at Stalag 13 in Philadelphia... the first time, they stayed with me at a friend's house after the show... I cooked them pasta haha).

Their live show was one of the best things I've ever seen. They left everything they had on the stage every night. Plus - the first song on their self-titled record is one of the best minute and a halves of music ever recorded.

Al said...

hey, everytime i download this, the files for tracks 6 & 10 from eponymous are broken. is anyone else having this problem? is there any way of reposting this?

culverink said...

I had two really really old catharsis songs a friend of mine dubbed on a tape for me a long ass time ago. This was supposedly before the fall demo, you could tell it was Brian on vocals, although his voice was a bit cracky. Unfortunately I lost the tape and have no idea the names of the songs. Anyone out there have any idea of any such recordings?

khalil boulos said...

i love catharsis i have passion on vinyl i need to build my collection which i'm going to work on very soon as well as many other releases from the chrimethinc collective the music is very interesting as well as the artwork

Fabricius said...

Hey mate,

I think after three years that's still the best post about Catharsis. It will probably be always be. If you're keen to update it, they released "light from a dead star" this year, which features only one previous unreleased song, but still.

Thanks for the post!


khalil boulos said...

Yea I know. I have the first press of A Light From A Dead Star 1st. Press. The second press comes out the end of August but they have a show coming up in Chapel Hill at the Kitchen and they will have them there. I have thier entire collection except the Fall demo tape now.

Gutier Hardcore said...

thanks for the albums

khalil boulos said...

One of the best blogs is Path To Misery blogspot. Thanks AJ

Jass said...

Ah, wonderful, thank you for this...brings back a lot of memories :-)

khalil boulos said...

Your welcome