01. This Bike Is a Gravity Bong
02. Kyle Vs. Robocop
03. Proceed With Caution
04. Attention Deficit Distortion
05. Panic Don't Panic
06. Three Ring Binder As Makeshift Monster
07. Thirsty Like Water Thirsty
08. Smoke Crack Worship Satan
09. Eating People Is Easy
10. Jesus Garcia
11. Born With a Buzz
12. Dunna Nanunna
13. Song With No Words
2008 The Perpetual Motion Machine
With Marianas Trench, Richmond, Virginia's The Catalyst offers up a blend of all things noisy, drawing equal influences from The Jesus Lizard, The Melvins, and Nirvana. The disc's thirteen tracks are a compilation of the band's last three releases, and provide a healthy dose of incredibly dirty yet still heavily melodic three piece rock 'n roll.
Despite the songwriting variation inherent in a record that combines multiple releases, The Catalyst never shies too far away from their strong foundation of gritty bass, feedback-drenched guitars, straightforwardly pummeling drumming, and abrasive dueling screams. The disc begins with "This Bike Is a Gravity Bong," a track that combines filthy guitar work and thick Jesus Lizard-esque bass lines that anchor the track with some serious low end. The up-beat bass groove in the beginning of "Attention Deficit Distortion" packs a Shellac feel before the track descends into fat one string guitar riffs saturated in distortion. The ninety second long "Dunna Nanunna" showcases the band's punk leanings with up-tempo drumming, fast chord progressions, and energetic screams of "Turn it off! I don't want to!" Furthermore, instrumental tracks like "Proceed With Caution" and "Thirsty Like Water Thirsty" offer another songwriting dimension as they offer warm and driving bass melodies accompanied with howling guitar work possessing borderline psychedelic tendencies. Those who love their rock music soaked in feedback and anchored in gritty low end will find a good match in The Catalyst.
The downside of Marianas Trench lies in the discontinuity between the different recording sessions and a few mundane moments from the band's earlier material. The first four tracks, representing the band's latest recorded output, are superior to the rest of the record's offerings, a feat that can be attributed to a stronger recording and production job with ample helpings of low end, thus allowing these guys to showcase their thick melodic grooves. The rest of the tracks are still of a dirty, feedback-soaked style, but the recordings just aren't as capable of packing the same punch as the album openers. And a few moments of less engaging clean guitar work, such as that in "Three Ring Binder As Makeshift Monster" aren't as fulfilling as the rest of the album's predominantly abrasive leanings.
Nevertheless, a release comprised of older recordings is bound to have these flaws, and on the weight of the opening four tracks alone, it's hard to argue against the fact that this release provides a great introduction to a band determined to create some impressively gritty rock.
Bottom Line: The Catalyst's Marianas Trench offers a mix of Nirvana's rock melody and The Jesus Lizard's noisy experimentation and excels on a foundation of some fantastically gritty three piece arrangements. The disc might be a bit of a disjointed listening experience due to the combination of different recording sessions and some of the band's spottier early material, but it will still be of interest for those that like their music abrasive, catchy, and energetic.