Released on Wednesday 11 July 2018.
For fans of Karnivool, Tool, Porcupine Tree
Amaryllis (2018) is the remastered, self-titled debut album from French progressive rock/metal band Catchlight.
This is the penultimate album in my recent series of Why didn’t I review these albums earlier? Those albums that somehow got lost, admittedly during a particularly difficult period in my life, in my To Review backlog. To be honest, getting this review out has also been something of a challenge as I had full-blown flu last week that left me in bed for three days, hardly able to move. Anyway, I am really kicking myself over this one; from the moment I spun up this album, I was hooked.
As much as I love progressive music, whether rock or metal, I often feel a certain apprehension before listening to a new prog album. I tend to separate prog into one of two categories: (1) music that must be satisfying to play, (2) music that is great to listen to. I connect least with the music in category one—I can appreciate how clever it is, I can appreciate the technical ability of the musicians, but it simply does not speak to my heart. This album falls firmly into category two: it speaks to me, it moves me, it takes me on a journey.
The album opens with an atmospheric, tension-building track “Pre-natal” (track 1) that takes the listener from a muffled, underwater soundscape, through a simple melody into the birth of a fully-formed progressive track. It’s quite beautiful.
In the distant future, a catastrophe called the Long Night occurs and forces a part of humanity to exile in an underground city called Amaryllis and governed by a I.A. responding to the name of E.O.S.
The vast majority of the population perished, and a thousand years after the start of the disaster the few survivors living on the surface have mutated to adapt to this new environment.
In the laboratories of Amaryllis a hybrid being from the two human races is born.
His name is Tithon.—Notes on “Pre-natal”
Without missing a breath, “Eclosion” (track 2) picks up the pace and the story.
Am I real ? Am I completed ?—Lyrics for “Eclosion”
Am I one of yours or just one of your dreams ?
Am I fuzzy ? Am I clear ?
Am I just a thing you could make disappear ?
Tell me why I’m lying here floating under white lights !
Each song on this album is exquisite—an exact blend of melody and heaviness held in perfect balance. I could listen to this album again and again. I know that I love an album as much as this one because I delay writing the review, and I’ve put this off for four days now! It was meant to be published yesterday. But I don’t want to let go of it. It is unrushed and steady, everything that my life doesn’t feel to be right now. Thank God for music!
I held onto this release for four and a half years. Why? I have no idea, but there must have been something in it that I knew I would need later. I feel so thankful for finding it now. It is beautiful. It is exquisite. It speaks to my heart, my mind, my soul. This album has carried me through a dark week of illness. This could easily be the soundtrack to this year for me, played on repeat like some kind of ritual. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Oh my word, I love this album.
Review score: 100%
Domino Media Group contacted me (in… erm, November 2018) inviting me to preview Catchlight’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either Domino Media Group or Catchlight. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Domino Media Group, and to Catchlightfor continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.