Swiss metalcore with a nod to American hardcore and thrash...

If you only equate Switzerland with chocolate, cheese and cuckoo clocks, then think again. Similarly, if their entry in the Eurovision song contest was enough for you to write off the Swiss music scene, then this Swiss five-piece are here to convince you that it's not all bad...

Cataract began shaping their distinctive and aggressive sound back in 1998; the next five years saw the band's demo sell over 2000 copies, and was followed by full-length releases 'Golem' and 'The Great Days of Vengeance' on underground labels Ferret Music and LifeForce Recordings respectively, but in 2004 the band began making a muscular march forward with their signing to the German label, Metal Blade Recordings.

The follow up to 2004's 'With Triumph Comes Loss', 'Kingdom' marks the band's second full-length release since signing to Metal Blade and certainly reasserts why Cataract have been hailed as one of Switzerland's premiere metal outfits on a continuous rise within the European metalcore scene.

From the album's intro, 'Kingdom's Rise', the menacing sound of crushing drums builds until it becomes the incessant tick of double-kick hardcore pummelling, and as catchy, chugging guitars wind alongside, a cocking pistol marks the movement into the first inhuman growls of 'Tsar of Cultures'. 'Tsar of Cultures', 'Denial of Life' and 'March With Your Battle Force' are just a few of the tracks that lean towards a distinctly militant theme as Cataract plough their way through the album like a brutal hardcore army crushing everything in their path. Ferocious drumming is complimented by the brutal yet almost melodic chug of guitars and their debts to bands like Bolt Thrower and Hatebreed are evident in the winding hardcore of 'Definition of the Sacred' and 'Tsar of Cultures'. Similarly, the influence of old school thrash of Slayer is pushed to the forefront in 'The Denial of Life', the 'Raining Blood'-like riff of 'March With Your Battle Force' and the speed of 'Legions At The Gates'. Yet like many up and coming metal bands, Cataract recognise the benefits of combining the brutal hardcore of American acts with the thrash and metal stylings of fellow European bands, as the lead singer vomits forth his lyrics in a way not dissimilar to Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow or bile-soaked anger of The Haunted's Peter Dolving.

With its violent and powerful mix of chugging melodies, hardcore, metalcore and thrash, 'Kingdom' could be the album that really puts Cataract on the map. If 'Kingdom' had whetted your appetite, look out for their headlining tour in 2007.