Catbreath – Slice ‘Em All (Iron Shield Records)

Friday, 29th March 2024
Rating: 7.5 / 10

Northern Germany is home base for crossover thrash act Catbreath – an odd name indeed but do not let that fool you. These gentlemen rip out energetic tunes that feature the mandatory stomping to speedy riffs, gang-infused background vocals, as well as drum / bass parts that incorporate all sides of the punk, hardcore, and standard thrash base dimensions. From the first unbridled screams reigning down from the sky on through to the final, squeal-enhanced musical fadeout, Slice ‘Em All lives up to its title – an eleven-track obliteration for those who love the work of Municipal Waste, S.O.D., and a touch of early Slayer, Destruction or Metallica when called for.

Tomcat Fat Freddy adorns as a mascot for the rat-infested front cover – which extends into many of the themes / song titles that also mirror the feline thread, as “New Claw Order”, “Strike of the Claw”, and “Blood Spill Claw Kill” illustrate. Superior bass play signals thick head bobbing riffs for the title cut, while a mid-tempo chugging atmosphere penetrates “Black Revenger”, the hoarse, menacing vocals seething with contempt, punctuated seamlessly by gang background heroics and a hefty dose of double kick action. Minimalistic impact with an oddly constructed lead break sets “Beauty of the Splattered Corpse” into familiarity for those into the classic Speak English Or Die record from S.O.D., 72 seconds of thunder, while the see-saw jagged riffs and tantalizing bluesy runs push “Plastic Smile” as one of the album’s highlights, frantic leads as well as chunky, solid transitions should make this a crowd favorite. The occasional use of circular twin guitar lines also gives the record that extra catchy, melodic touch – proving these musicians know when they have to let some segments breath a bit more before the next crossover, all out assault barrels you over like a pack of wolves on the prowl.

An intriguing concept that probably hasn’t been done that much before, Slice ‘Em All has the ready-made chaos captured for those who live for crossover thrash – and could put Catbreath on the map. Let the claws climb the walls, eliminate those rats, and see where things go next.

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