AMN Reviews: Catatonic Effigy – Putrid Tendency (2019; Iluso Records)

Given the band name and the title, one might expect that Catatonic Effigy’s Putrid Tendency is a death metal album. But that is not the case. Instead, guitarist Álvaro Domene, bassist Colin Marston, and drummer Mike Caratti collaborate on heavy instrumental tracks of abstract – yet structured – improvisation.

The most prominent feature is Domene’s distorted 7-string guitar, which he employs for heavy riffing, speed-picking, and atmospheric walls not unlike those of Sunn O))). Caratti’s drumming is virtual non-stop soloing rather than being traditionally rhythmic and is reminiscent of that of Balázs Pándi. Marston also plays synths, which provide sweeping layers that dovetail nicely when Domene is playing more slowly with heavy effects. Otherwise, Marston’s bass efforts are oriented on riffing and improv.

To these ears, the primary reason to listen to Putrid Tendency over and over (which I have) is to appreciate how Domene manages to combine outside guitar heroics with his own set of unique twists and turns to produce an unusual set of sounds and textures. While he echoes shades of Fripp, Sharp, and Kaiser, Domene has his own voice that is both in your face and laden with subtleties.

Listen to this album loud – not just because it rocks, but for the detail. You won’t be disappointed. Putrid Tendency will be released on November 28.