Track By Tracks: Catalysis - Betrayer (2023)

1. Kingmaker:

Kingmaker is the album opener, a fast and aggressive thrasher with a strong melodic death metal influence. The track started out life with Drew jamming the verse riff in the rehearsal room and a few days later, Sean sent pretty much the finished instrumental as a demo. A few changes were made here and there, but as soon as we heard it, we knew it was the album opener! Lyrically, the song is about discovering someone is not who they seem - seeing behind the mask, so to speak. The lyrical concept was actually Drew’s idea - a first for the band.

2. Gone:

Gone was the first song written for the record, and was originally over 5 minutes long. Written by Drew, when he sent it to the rest of the band, it was met with a lukewarm reception, so he opened up the protools project, cut out a lot of riffs and repeats, and trimmed it down to 3 minutes of fury. This song has a mixed vibe and sits somewhere between thrash and metalcore, but don’t tell anyone because metalcore is a dirty word! Again, we knew this was going to be a single, as soon as Col brought his vocals to the table for the chorus section. The melodic section in the middle was brought in last minute, to replace a different riff that actually ended up in Gallows! Lyrically, the song is about realizing something is over and that you’re not being treated well and moving on as a result.

3. Endless:

Endless was originally called “A Rose Without Thorns” but Drew thought the title sounded a bit flowery and weak. Lyrically, this covers a father's dedication to his children, and wanting to protect them from some of the same troubles he’s faced in life. The song has a really bouncy, almost nu-metal feel to the verses, but a strong Scandinavian sound to the choruses.

4. Bottom of The World:

Bottom of The World stands out a bit on the album, as it’s in ¾ time signature and has a bit of a different vibe. The chorus really stirs up memories of late 90’s/early 2000’s Gothenburg metal with a catchy, melodic lead. This was one of the songs that took the most work to get where we wanted, struggling with vocal parts, etc - but in the end, it’s one of our favorites on the record, probably because it’s so different from the rest. Lyrically, the song covers humanity's mistreatment of the planet.

5. Panopticon:

Panopticon came about after a healthy discussion about how great God Forbid was, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear a few head nods to some of their songs in there. The song has a huge melodic chorus, but also a really mean-feeling percussive verse, a verse which was re-written at the last minute because the original was too hard to play! Lyrically, this song is inspired by the Panopticon theory of Michel Foucalt - very interesting stuff.

6. Mea Culpa:

Mea Culpa wasn’t even supposed to be on the record. We had originally picked out the 10 songs that would make up the record after demoing etc, and when it came to playing one of the songs in the room, we just didn’t gel with it. Mea Culpa was originally named Helix - a nod to the fact that Sean wrote most of it as a test of our new Line 6 Helix guitar units - trying to balance his guitar tone with Drew’s and make sure they worked together. When we decided that the other song wasn’t going to work, Drew pulled this one out of the demo pile, made a few changes to some of the riffs (like the variations on the verse riff in the intro and 2nd verse) and Mea Culpa was born. This is arguably our collective favorite from the record, but it’s hard to get us to all agree on something!

7. Gallows:

Gallows is the most straightforward headbanger on the record. No frills, no real melodic sections, just sheer riffs. Very heavily inspired by bands like Chimaira, this one is all about the groove. The section following the 2nd chorus was actually originally in Gone! Lyrically, the song covers the idea of the modern “trial by social media” and the dangers it brings, as well as more broadly, the issues that social media causes in modern life. We recruited some help from fellow Scottish bands H8teball and Fallen Ashes as well as some fans and friends for the gang vocals in this song.

8. Overlord:

Overlord is a strange song and quite challenging to play, with quite a lot of sections, despite the short length. This one draws a lot of influence from thrash and groove metal and was the most difficult chorus on the record to get the vocals right for. Overall, the song is really dark and quite brutal tonally, but the guitar solo is extremely melodic - we really enjoyed the juxtaposition of that! Lyrically, the song covers the proliferation of AI and machines and humanity's reliance on them. We used our friends for the gang vocals in this track too!

9. Never Unseen:

Never Unseen is a hybrid of straight-up thrash, and Children of Bodom worship! A super fun song to play came together really quickly. Calum borrowed the doubled-up ride part in the verses from Vio-Lence after seeing Perry Strickland use that beat in a thrash section - not something you hear often! Fun fact - the intro of this song was re-written IN the studio as we were recording it, and it’s much better now than it was originally.

10. Another Version of The Truth:

Another Version of the Truth is the spiritual successor or “part 2” to “A Version of The Truth” from our 2020 album, Connection Lost. The idea was initially floated to write an epic album closer and we felt like we could do something similar to that album, but better - we’d all improved as musicians and songwriters. We came up with the concept of having a story or argument told from both sides and using a guest vocalist to represent that, which is how we ended up with Amy from Trauma Bonds on the track. This song has by far the most layers and tracks to it, and will almost certainly never be played live as a result!

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