Cathartic Demise – Racing for Liberty

Tuesday, 28th May 2019

Here at Dead Rhetoric we strive to provide metal coverage that tackles all levels of the community – from the numerous signed bands globally all the way to upcoming musicians who are plugging away on a DIY basis. Cathartic Demise from Canada land into that latter category – a quartet who produce a potent blend of progressive thrash that includes groove, death, and power influences past and present. They recently released their debut, self-titled EP – and even at three songs, it’s clear to tell that these gentlemen have made quite a forceful impression out of the gate. Impressive mixtures of rhythms plus an ingrained sense of melody and harmony principles abound throughout – beyond the savage roars and energetic tempos.

Reaching out to the band to find out more regarding their background, their outlook, and future plans, we contacted guitarist/vocalist Bennett Smith. It’s only a matter of time in this scribe’s opinion before more people come into the Cathartic Demise fold.

Dead Rhetoric: Can you let us know the formation of Cathartic Demise in 2017 – were you familiar with each other through other local bands, and did you know straight away the style of technical, progressive thrash you wanted to develop or was there a feeling out process to arrive at this style?

Bennett Smith: Angus and I had met each other in high school as the only two metalheads that were in attendance. Angus was already a part of the scene and just invited Aaron to play bass, while Taylor was in another band and basically liked what he heard and told us he was in the band now.

As far as the development of our sound I had always loved thrash metal growing up, as we all do, but always felt like it was a bit too resistant to change or outside influence, so I just started infusing a lot of my thrash metal roots into everything else I was listening too, other metal styles (death, black, traditional, prog) as well as completely different genres. It was a natural progression and a pretty easy thing to realize early on because my bandmates all understand the vision I had for the band.

Dead Rhetoric: You recently released your debut, self-titled EP. What can you tell us about the songwriting and recording sessions for this release? Were there any surprises, obstacles, challenges, or interesting stories that you would like to share about the process?

Smith: It was an incredibly relaxed and easy environment to work in. Jonah Kay understood what we were going for and offered us many suggestions on the production end of things without trying to get in the way of what we wanted to accomplish. It was all recorded very quickly as a result, drums and vocals were finished in a single day, and all of the guitars only taking about three studio days. We came in prepared and didn’t want to waste any time.

Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about the artwork for the EP that was done with Polish artist Ania Bodziarczyk? Was it a collaborative process between the band and Ania – or did you trust her ideas and visions for your work?

Smith: We were already familiar with Ania’s skills before we asked her to make our cover art, so we felt confident with letting her come up with her own ideas for what should visually represent the sound. We just sent her the lyrics and the songs beforehand and let her run wild.

Dead Rhetoric: Is it fair to say that the diverse influences and interests of the band beyond the thrash realm into aspects of power, death, and djent/technical styles aids Cathartic Demise in putting a unique outlook on your songwriting, creations, and performances?

Smith: Hopefully, I don’t know if we’re the right people to answer that question, but we’re definitely NOT trying to be the next Metallica or whatever, we’re just trying to be the first Cathartic Demise. Outside influences that people don’t usually put together certainly helps, but it’s definitely more of a philosophical idea to only strive to do whatever is 100% genuine in a musical sense.

Dead Rhetoric: What types of goals do you set for Cathartic Demise in the short-term and long-term? Are you content to remain a DIY, independent entity, or would you like to seek out label support?

Smith: We’re definitely looking to take the band to the next level, with tours and hopefully a full time career in this business.

Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Cathartic Demise when it comes to a live performance? What have been some of your favorite shows that you’ve played at to date?

Smith: I think the live performance is much more down to earth than a lot of other bands that try and pretend to be something way more than they actually are for the sake of the show, not that there’s anything wrong with that. We like to joke and have fun on stage for sure, but not to the point where people can’t take us seriously. We just try to make a positive environment for people to come out and have fun and escape from all the bullshit life throws at us.

Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about the local metal scene in Kitchener, Ontario Canada? Do you have a healthy amount of support and interest from the fans, venues, other bands, promoters and so forth – or do you end up seeking out shows in other territories across Canada?

Smith: Kitchener has a very healthy scene with some high quality bands, notably Raider and Invicta, we never have a hard time filling up venues at home, but shows outside of our immediate vicinity are a lot of fun too, you can get a more honest reaction when there’s more people unfamiliar with your band that way.

Dead Rhetoric: What would you say are three of the most important bands that shape your viewpoints and outlooks on heavy metal – and what have been some of the best concert memories that you’ve had, purely from a fan perspective?

Smith: As far as our outlook I always look to Iron Maiden, they always seemed to be the one band that did no wrong, always retained a positive outlook in the metal realm, had a sense of humor and were still badass and wrote incredible music at the same time. Devin Townsend too for all of those same reasons, because he has gotten to a point in his career where he has so much creative freedom it’s inspiring. Death is another band, we try and follow Chuck’s philosophy of always trying to push the boundaries and retain a high level of musicianship and consistency.

As a fan, the three best shows I’ve personally seen were Gojira, Cult of Luna and Suffocation. Gojira because they’re one of the best and most important bands around nowadays and were so incredibly tight. Cult of Luna because it was a very different kind of metal show with no real moshing or headbanging so to speak, just the entire crowd enchanted by the soundscape they were creating onstage. And Suffocation because it was the most energetic show I’ve ever seen, lots of stage diving and not a second without a pit going on.

Dead Rhetoric: What worries you most about the world that we live in today? If you had the opportunity to have the leaders of the world focus on a couple of issues, what needed to be worked on the most for the future?

Smith: I don’t think I’m the right person to talk to about world issues, but it does genuinely concern me that a man as obviously mentally deficient as Donald Trump can become the most powerful man in the world, that tells me a lot about how many people think and I can’t say I’m a fan. As far as issues, probably climate change. It is threatening everything we know and love, and not enough people care about it.

Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on social media and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Bandcamp to promote the works of Cathartic Demise? Are you very active on these platforms, or do you prefer face to face, in person connection to spread the news and communication of the band?

Smith: I think it’s just kind of an inevitability in this day and age, certainly makes it easier to connect to your fans so we try and keep active on social media, but nothing can top a face to face interaction after a show. That is a very raw and honest thing that you don’t really get in many other places.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s next on the agenda for the rest of the year for Cathartic Demise now that the EP has been released?

Smith: We’re just going to keep playing shows and build up our live chops, get the name out there, then hopefully buckle down and come out with a full-length next year.

Cathartic Demise on Facebook