Sustained with dignity

-- Catalyst --

Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
Progressive Metal
Death Metal
Album artists:
Jeroen van Ranst Vocals
Philip Pedraza Guitar, backing vocals
Aaron Onghena Guitar, backing vocals
Benjamin Onghena Bass, backing vocals
Jannes Lemaitre Drums

Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.


I first encountered Catalyst about a year ago when lead guitarist Philip introduced me to a couple of his band’s songs (such as the enjoyable track “Delirium Nostrum”). I also saw them in March this year as the opening band of the inaugural edition of Detonation – A Day Full Of Metal and I had a fun time seeing those five well-dressed guys on stage! A couple of days ago the band released their latest single, “Sustainable Dignity,” on YouTube and once again Philip asked me to share my thoughts. And since we’re now also shredding singles, here it goes!


“Sustainable Dignity” is the fourth YouTube released song from the Belgian progressive death metal band Catalyst who started in 2017. Compared to their earlier songs like “Debt To The World” and “Delirium Nostrum” this is a significantly shorter song (clocking in at just 4 minutes) and in my opinion, it’s a choice for the better. The main weakness I felt in Catalyst’s earlier material was that they were some parts that felt like pure filler, such as an unnecessary monologue in “Delirium Nostrum” and a dragged out 30-second opening jam in “Concrete.” Parts like those could’ve been cut shorter or out entirely so that the juicy meat of their respective songs would have been served much earlier.

Fortunately, “Sustainable Dignity” starts off strong with a crisp main melody followed by short guitar, bass and drum solos in quick succession before vocalist Jeroen starts barking! One thing I quickly noticed about Catalyst’s new song is that it moves at a smoother and tighter pace and so Catalyst’s strengths are now much more visible. One of those strengths is Jeroen’s flexible vocals. In certain sections of the song he goes for a rough, snarly voice while in others he goes for clean, melodic singing. Actually, his clean vocals remind me of Serj Tankian’s from System Of A Down. In fact, this entire song has a SOAD feel to it, with the frantic rhythms and the politically and socially conscious lyrics.

One other thing that I particularly enjoy about Catalyst is Philip’s guitar solos. As in all other Catalyst songs released thus far he grinds out some beautiful soaring riffs from his battle axe. Aside from that, “Sustainable Dignity” feels like a more aggressive and harder hitting song than Catalyst’s earlier material yet it still maintains the sophisticated edge that’s present in all of their songs thus far. It’s a delicate balance between death metal rage and progressive artistry and I’m glad to say that with this new track Catalyst has further improved on this part as well.


8,5 cataclysms out of 10. With “Sustainable Dignity,” Catalyst shows a clear positive evolution in their songwriting and presentation with a tighter written and overall heavier tune that will certainly make a few heads banging! The tasty meat of their previous songs remains, but the unnecessary fat has been effectively cut out. I’m very curious to hear how they’ll further build on this type of classy metal. Here’s the studio video for “Sustainable Dignity.” Enjoy your Sunday night!