01. Pathology of Murder
02. My Crucible
03. Splendors Calling
04. The Messenger
05. Problem, Reaction, Solution
06. History Is Fiction
07. Healthy Dose of Hate
08. Generation Decimation
09. Enveloping Darkness
10. Apathy's Warm Embrace
2008 Napalm Records
Formed in 1999 as a side-project by then-Pyrexia vocalist Keith Devito and Obituary guitarist Trevor Peres, Catastrophic released one largely unnoticed album on Metal Blade (2001's The Cleansing) before fading into obscurity. Now seven years later and sans Peres' axework, Catastrophic is back from the grave with a solid if unspectacular sophmore album in the form of Pathology of Murder.
Although the band's attack is still rooted in a decidedly Obituary-esque approach to oldschool death metal, Catastrophic doesn't go out of their way to differentiate themselves from the numerous bands plying this style of mostly midpaced havoc. There are a number of breakdowns scattered throughout the album, but this is about as far removed from "deathcore" as it gets. Everything from the production to the riffs to the awful cover art screams Florida death metal circa 1992, so no one will be mistaking them for Despised Icon anytime soon, but being firmly rooted in death metal's glory days doesn't necessarily equal remarkable results.
There is plenty of gnarly, groove-laden guitarwork to be found on Pathology of Murder, but the overall songwriting just isn't up to par considering the band's shared pedigree, which includes Criminal Element, Internal Bleeding and Pyrexia. There are some killer moments, but as a whole the album often comes off as formulaic, with only a few tracks, such as the oddly atmospheric "History is Fiction" and the furiously chugging "Problem, Reaction, Solution," really standing out.
What ultimately keeps Pathology of Murder from being a truly captivating piece of death metal are several key production flaws. Rob Maresca's drums are too far back in the mix, causing them to lack the punch necessary to make songs like "Healthy Dose of Hate" and "Generation Decimation" as skull-crushingly heavy as they could be. Additionally, too much emphasis is placed on Devito's rather workman-like vocal performance. The ex-Pyrexia frontman's vocals often sound like John Tardy-lite and one can't help but think the band would've been better served by more powerful, distinctive growler.
Bottom Line: While Pathology of Murder is an enjoyable offering, it's hard to imagine any true fan of this style of death metal reaching for this over albums by Obituary, Bolt Thrower or even Jungle Rot. Better production values and attention to creating a more unique sound could make this band just as impressive as some of its members' previous outfits, but for now Catastrophic remains an entertaining if rather unessential proposition.