Katagory V - Present Day

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Nightmare Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:35:00

Katagory V's sound is very much in the "old school" style, as one can strongly hear elements of Iron Maiden in the music -- "The Call Of Midnight," by way of example, which also makes me think of early Metallica, or "One Second Warning." Of course, what do those titles make you think of? "Two Minutes To Midnight" perhaps? "One Second Warning," is the closest to that particular track.

Katagory V hail from the unlikely place of Salt Lake City, Utah. Not that Utah is unlikely; I mean, we know it exists, there was just some big sporting event there earlier this year. But that a metal band would issue forth from a state, or least a region of a state, that is felt to be predominantly Mormon, would seem about as likely as... well, that's really a bad analogy to make. We shouldn't make too much out of where they're from, everyone has to be from somewhere, and Utah is just as good as any other place (though it seems that Sweden is the happenin' place for all things metallic). The band started to form in 1999 when bassist Dustin Mitchell and guitarist Curtis Morell met each other, they later recruited Matt Suiter on drums, Ryan Taylor on second guitar, and, by the end of 1999, added vocalist Lynn Allers. Present Day was recorded in 2000.

It is a very good debut album, but they do need just a bit of polishing. I don't if any of the tracks that appeared on their 4-song demo were re-recorded for the full album -- I'm thinking not and that demo was extracted from the full release for promo purposes -- but... it does feel like a demo. Well, a demo-plus, I guess, since saying demo implies the tracks sound sketchy, as if they're missing something. They aren't missing anything, but their performance, to me, need just a little tightening. Lynn Allers is taken to unexpected, high-pitched yelling, and while it isn't shrill in tone... there are a few occasions where it seemed superfluous (and thus unexpected). But, then again, it's the style. Actually, Katagory V trade in various styles - epic heroic metal, dark metal, and romantic metal. Interesting, I'd actually refer to the "dark metal" as romantic, as I think of the poets of the 19th century (Byron, Keats, etc) who were often ruminating upon gloomy things and called Romantic. But here, of course, romantic means songs about relationships... which also can be ruminations on gloomy things and often are in this genre. Unless it's the hair bands, when it was about sex...and romance doesn't really enter into then anyway, now does it? The title track slots more into a prog metal category that is neither heroic nor romantic and not necessarily dark... but a little of both of the latter. One of the strongest tracks here.

Anyway, in that first category (no pun intended), we get "Evil Princess," which trades in the over used clich? of both sword and warrior fantasy and woman as viper... Of course, that's the female perspective on it, which is the only one I can give you. But it is a tight and well-developed track, one of the few that have that quality. "Steel Dungeon" follows along the same lines conceptually -- warrior fantasy. Not having the lyrics available, I don't know if this is presented at face value or meant as metaphor.

In the second category, we have "The Forsaken" -- the title alone would tell you that. This, too, is not a bad track. I love the twin guitar work here as Taylor's and Morell's lines intertwine (Taylor has since left the band, making KatV a quartet). Nevermore will come to mind, which coincides with LarryD's Warrel Dane comment in his review of the demo. The opening track "I Live On" does fit into this niche as well, but isn't quite as focused. "Present Day," as I mentioned, would slot into the category, too, as well as draw some comparisons to Nevermore.

The third category is the "romantic" and features the weakest track here, "Negative Attraction." Actually, this might be a fourth category, inexpert punk metal. If one were judging the band on this track... well, they'd get lumped in with Green Day and the like, except for those guitars, which are clearly in the metal camp. I guess this kinda bridges the two genres... but it's a smug "fuck you/I love you" kind of track... But, back to the third category... "The Beginning Of Our End" chugs along at a brisk pace, though the vocals seem a little out of time for the music ... wonder if that's not deliberate, underscoring the lyrics of a relationship going through changes... as an instrumental, with a little more tightness, it would smoke. I should say that I don't dislike Allers voice, I'm just saying that it feels as if this piece began life as an instrumental over which the lyrics were grafted. Maybe its because one would be expecting a mellower instrumental backing to the track. "Morning Light" mixes things up a bit, with light, jazzy percussion and sinewy bass. It's their romantic power ballad, but it becomes more than just that. This is the track that shows their potential to create jazz metal... and, because I often tell you what exactly I'm thinking, there were a few moments where I thought that Allers sounded a bit like Billy Joel. That would require a lot of close analysis to describe to you, but if you can imagine Joel fronting metal band (okay, Attila, doesn't count) and singing in a "metal" way... without the metal screams.

The fourth category is the rolling, topical metal a la Iron Maiden, as mentioned earlier.

Present Day is a debut with a lot of potential. Because their strongest material is the darker themed metal, that may be the direction they'll want to take this. It's the only avenue that hasn't yet become a caricature of itself. Any choice they make they are going to run into a pack of others all vying for the same audience. To rise above, they really need to make a category...rather a Katagory V, a niche to call their own.

I Live On (5:24) / Evil Princess (3:28) / The Call Of Midnight (3:41) / The Beginning Of Our End (5:33) / Steel Dungeon (3:45) / Morning Light (5:32) / The Forsaken (4:34) / Negative Attraction (3:57) / Present Day (6:41) / One Second Warning (5:00)

Matt Suiter - drums
Curtis Morrell - guitar
Lynn Allers - vocals
Dustin Mitchell - bass
Ryan Taylor ? guitar

Present Day (2001)
A New Breed Of Rebellion (2004)
The Rising Anger (2006)
Hymns Of Dissension (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: August 11th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.facebook.com/KatagoryV
Hits: 585
Language: english


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