• Sat, Jan 28, 2023
Reviews

Thane Band Rotten Kitten's Album 'Catabolism' - A Love Letter To Millennial Rock

6.5

album Reviews Dec 20, 05:28pm

One can’t help but appreciate the dedication the band has to its musical influences

Here’s something for the rock fans out there. This album is from a band called Rotten Kitten. They are a classic 4-piece setup of vocals, guitars, bass and drums. It has seven songs on it that lean heavily into the heyday of grunge and the hard rock (alternative) movement of the 1990s and early 2000s. Now of course, the band use these genres more as a tool than lip service, with some updated production and a few more stylistic shifts than albums of that time. What makes ‘Catabolism’ notable is the almost-complete lack of compromise in the presentation of the music here. This is a debut album, and it’s also a very clear statement of what this band wants its identity to be. And that is riffs, grooves and hummable vocals. For better or for worse, but mainly better.

What this approach allows for is full commitment to a sound. So while the production here does nothing special by any means, it gets the basics right. Barring a few muddy moments here and there, all the ingredients of a punchy rock sound are present. Guitars and bass sound especially great; they are consistently heavy and thick throughout the album, and when the band decides to have a moment of levity or calm, they clean up really nicely. This is helped by mostly good performances. It never sounds like the band members are stretching themselves, but with comfort comes confidence. For a first album, that works just fine.

Rotten Kitten makes the very smart decision on this album to give songs their own little ‘moments’. If you find a song on here you like, there’s always one memorable ‘thing’ that justifies replaying it. You can also pick out their influences almost instantly, which is this rare case is not a bad thing (because this is a sound where familiarity with it actually gives context and improves the experience). The opener ‘Demons’ will instantly put a few bands in your head, and if that doesn’t, ‘Godslave’ undoubtedly will (there’s some Pearl Jam, some Deftones, some Godsmack, some AIC, and depending on what you like listening to, you could list more). ‘Demons’ is more driving with some nice chug on the rhythm guitars and a classic wailing lead. This song’s strength is its verse-chorus one-two punch. ‘Godslave’ is actually a bit lackluster until it reaches its well-executed instrumental section, spearheaded by some evil bass.

 

 

‘Cyclone’ is very comfortably in the hard rock world but ends up not standing out, despite some nice playing and a decent solo. ‘Lost Faith’ is a classic mid-album change of pace, and it shows that the band is very capable of the 90s rock ballad structure. Some nice clean sounds are on display here; acoustic guitars, a nice electric guitar tone and more. In spite of a strangely heavy pre-chorus, the song goes over really nicely. ‘Out for War’ is a 70-second track that goes from balladry to some sort of speed-metal about 35 seconds in. Fast drums and note-filled riffs, the whole thing. That is a proper left turn you will not see coming (even after reading this). ‘Behold’ is a pretty solid marriage between 90s sounds and 2000s… everything else. The vocals do a pretty convincing Hetfield for a moment here, which is an interesting choice. The main riff is great too. ‘Isabella’ is the closer of this album, and it’ll probably end up being what the band closes their live set with. This is every bit the party song; while the sounds don’t change, the band goes very much into the pop-rock space with their writing. This is a pretty accessible song hiding behind some distortion. That’s another interesting idea, of which there are many.

‘Catabolism’ is not for everybody. It’s fairly clear that the band knows it too, which is why they pick a direction (big riffs, theatrical vocals, simple grooves) and just run with it. If you are a listener that enjoys variety, the main core of these seven songs might not provide that for you. While the band sounds confident for the most part, there are some performances that will get better with time. But if you do like the era Rotten Kitten is pulling from, this album is absolutely for you. You will find everything you have always liked, and considering they jumped into an era that means a lot to a lot of people, one should consider that a success. Keep track of them.

 

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