Review 1632 : Catacomb – When the Stars Are Right – English

Catacomb, French Death Metal legend, is back.

Formed in 1990, the band led by Ben Bussy (bass/vocals) and Anthony Derycke (guitar) built a reputation in the underground scene, and despite a few breaks, recruited Bress (drums, Necrowretch) and Ronan Kermarec (guitar) for the release of When the Stars Are Right, their first album, on Xtreem Music, in 2023.

The album starts with The Kings of Edom, which doesn’t take long to unveil its imposing and heavy Death Metal. The massive vocals perfectly fit this heavy atmosphere, which is also developed on the icy interludes or on this long solo, while Ruler of this World comes to place some very slow sounds before releasing the rage under frantic blast. The atmosphere remains quite dark, maintained by macabre leads and oppressive orchestrations, which also follow the martial march in the depths on Servants of the Old One and its obvious occult influences. The few choruses of despair hugely strengthen this feeling of creeping darkness which becomes more and more important before adopting dissonance on Waiting For the Stars and its soaring sounds between two waves of raw strength. The Great Dreamer gives us a short moment of respite while keeping the ominous atmosphere that prevails before aggressive riffs are heard, sometimes coupled with piercing leads, before Black Goat brings the haunting sounds back thanks to extremely effective Old School influences. Sharp harmonics bring a dissonant edge to the track, and the band follows up in this dynamic with In Your Blasphemous Name, a more melodic track retaining its solid, rocky basis. The heady tones almost become soothing before being ignited again on Crawling Chaos, a composition which starts with very aggressive riffs to finally return to the sweetness of ungodly melodies before leading us to Blind Idiot God, which also mixes aggressive parts with other more haunting ones, highlighting bass while the guitars build the chaotic and heavy atmosphere, led by vocals. The album will end with Chapel of Ghouls, a cover of the cult Morbid Angel song that the band respects to the letter while developing their very own and characteristic occult touch.

Catacomb goes back to the dark depths on When the Stars Are Right, an album of occult Death Metal that knows how to be as ferocious as haunting, and which will delight the fans of Old School sounds as well as those who love the great old ones.


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