Album: Cathartic – EP
Over time, negativity builds up within us—every time you want to lash out but don’t, every time you think with Ill will but fail to act—it grows. Some of us can store it for years and forget, let it wither away without ever taking control of us. Others have to purge—to find an outlet for it and vent negative energy until they are rid of it. If catharsis —the act of purging negativity through expression or activity—is a true means of unleashing inner darkness, then the Ontario-based onslaught Being must have been hoarding negative intent and actions for their entire lives. The band’s sophomore EP, Cathartic, is four tracks of pure fury—a seamless example of sinister downtempo deathcore with hints of beatdown and bounce—bound to leave the listener reduced to a bloody heap by the time all of Being’s brutality has been purged.
Instrumentally, Being are a bold, brutal and straightforward act of force. With only hints of technicality and groove to keep Cathartic moving along, a majority of Being’s latest release is breakdown-driven intensity, hellbent on busting every bone in the listener’s body. Drummer Chad Sanford is at the center of the band’s onslaught, steadily slamming the listener with sturdy, beefy kick drum patterns and explosive toms to contrast his sharp, cutting snare. The lengthy, lurid epic “Sinister” is a stellar display of his force—as Sanford keeps the heaviness coming, flowing from breakdown to breakdown with the smoothness of silk and the spine-shattering impact of a freight train. Sanford’s kit is constantly accompanied by the low, plunking grooves of bassist Dylan Youngs. While Youngs is rarely heard on his own, his grimy, grisly tone adds a thick, filthy coat to Sanford’s kick drum and lends density to guitarist Jordon Chatten’s crunchy guitar. “Infectious” is an example of one of few times Youngs bass can be heard cutting through the mix with a solid blend of sharpness and sludge–most of the time, however, the listener is far too preoccupied drowning in Chatten’s extraordinarily dissonant fretwork to pay heed to Youngs’ bass. Chatten is the sole source of variety in Being’s dynamic—with the introduction to “Cathartic” and “Vermin” both borrowing heavily from beatdown hardcore influences, and a majority of “Sinister” featuring a high-fretted, theremin-esque lead riff overtop his raunchy, ridiculous breakdowns.
With a majority of Being’s instrumentation beating down on the listener with unheard of belligerence, the band’s vocal effort must be just as uncompromising when it comes to bringing intensity and heat. Fortunately, Jonathan Doucet does just that—dominating Cathartic with an unbelievable range and incredible endurance. While “Sinister” features samples that cut into Doucet’s time on the microphone, “Cathartic” and “Vermin” both serve as full-bodied testaments to his skill. An unbelievable improvement since the band’s debut, Doucet’s devilish lows and sun-shattering shrieks keep the listener firmly engaged in Cathartic, even as Being’s lyricism is par for the genre, and the group isn’t absurdly catchy. All the same, Doucet’s voice—while not prone to getting caught in the listener’s head—is prone to severing their spine altogether. With the sky-high screams on “Vermin” and the grisly lows on “Infectious” and “Cathartic,” Doucet brings just as much vocal intensity to the release as the respective musicians do.
So while Being don’t reinvent the wheel, they rejuvenate a genre with a refreshingly oppressive listen that is, in pretty much every way imaginable, evil. From the eerie atmosphere to “Sinister” to the carnivorous proclivities of “Cathartic” and “Vermin,” Cathartic spares no expense when it comes to thoroughly obliterating the listener’s more subtle sensitivities. Each track is intense—and while certain parts of certain tracks blend together, stumbling over hints of monotony, they remain incessant and brutalizing. Taking a lesson from The Acacia Strain’s “just-don’t-care” attitude and infusing it with a headlong dash into downtempo devastation a la Black Tongue’s debut, Cathartic is no doubt a demonic, destructive listen that will inspire cathartic crowd killing in pits across Canada.
For Fans Of: Falsifier, Bodysnatcher, The Acacia Strain, Black Tongue
By: Connor Welsh