Katharsys, Metallicity LP, Othercide Records.
Words by Mat Taylor
Katharsys have been making savage drum and bass and crossbreed for a while now and although their music isn’t usually supported by mainstream DJs like Andy C and Hype, the likes of Current Value, Forbidden Society, Donny, The Panacea and High Rankin often drop their distinctive brand of brutality in the middle of their sets. Their brand new album, Metallicity is an absolute monster of an album that could well be the best collection of music these producers have released to date. With no fillers and that rare sense of continuity and thematic congruity often lacking in harder drum and bass, this record feels complete, polished and so incredibly satisfying to listen to.
Opening up with a track that is available as a free download, “Security Breach” featuring Ruin (Gancher’s other musical half, as it were.) is a phenomenal jet of molten technoid lava that takes the pioneering Offkey recordings and Position Chrome sounds and updates them with unbelievably sharp, modern production. Littered with film samples that immediately transport you to the midst of a crisis scene aboard a space ship in serious trouble, this is another part of the ever growing sci fi soundtrack that paves the way for our impending technological future full of fear.
Galactic Sub is a distinctive track that skates the fine line between cross breed and drum and bass by employing that ever popular swing beat rhythm and an off beat kick drum that immediately removes any sense of whimsy or silliness that is often associated with that clown like drum pattern. Mixing this with a 4/4 kick drum track would work fantastically, but it could equally stand up against more rolling, typical drum and bass tracks. There’s no melody to speak of but the sheer weight of that pounding one note baseline underneath that huge drum carries the tune. The second drop is “on beat” when compared to the first, making this one that could be played all the way through without anybody getting bored.
Dirty Like a French Man is the kind of title twisted individual might have come up with ten years ago, but this tune is definitely forward thinking and very much up to scratch with today’s production standard. A pounding, metallic snare drum that would make Donny proud leads the charge over a disgusting, deep and dark bassline that growls and rasps like a cornered animal. Yet again, the movie samples come thick and fast, breaking up the tune and adding a sense of drama and suspense between each section. The breakdown provides a brief respite before the stripped back, refined second drop pounds you in the skull like sledge hammer. Absolutely savagery that will have hard dnb and cross breed fans salivating.
Destruction, as the title suggests, is an extremely hard track with a well crafted, kick drum led pattern that’s broken up by a single, ear splitting snare and the occasional distorted sample that growls the word “distruction.” Definitely not one for the mainstream drum and bass fan but it will have a cross genre appeal as it could be played in a gabber set or a drum and bass set equally effectively. I guess that’s why they call it crossbreed. Although it’s nothing we haven’t seen before and the lack of anything particualry distinctive makes this a bit of a “filler” track, it sits well in its place on the album and would serve as an effective DJ tool. I also have to award extra points for the slightly disturbing sample of a little girl saying “hardcore banging my head.” Brilliant.
Ten Tonne Hammer was and still is a brutal and magnifecent hard drum and bass tune but Katharsys have given it their own individual treatment here. This version actually sounds less aggressive than the original and takes on a more techno oriented incarnation with the rubbery sounding bassline and kick drum led break pattern. Those famous drum fills that come with the signature Donny “hurgh!” have been muted and filtered to create s lightly different effect. This is a really interesting take on a classic hard dnb track that rounds off an album of many triumphs and only a few near misses.
Overall, this is one of the best hard drum and bass releases I have heard in a long time. So much of this genre can start to sound repetitive and consequently, a little bit boring, but Metallicity has enough variety and more importantly, energy to keep seasoned fans and newcomers very happy indeed. There are very few criticisms I can make about this release and I can only commend the unbelievably loud and clean sounding mix down. This will horrify people that don’t like this nasty little sub genre of our music but it will absolutely delight the people who do. Katharsys should be extremely proud of this full length, well curated selection of balls out, brutal bass terror that will no doubt annihilate dance floors around the world this year and in the future.