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Cathubodua “Interbellum” Album Review by Curtis J. Dupree

CATHUBODUA Band Members 1

A quick cursory glance at the cover art for Cathubodua’s new release, Interbellum, suggests a few things. It suggests the band is probably some sort of power or symphonic metal, that they are probably female-fronted, and that their sound goes for both epic and melodic. All these things are true. However, the cover art doesn’t prepare the listener for just how intense the brand of symphonic metal this band plays really is. The six songs here, for the most part, hit fast and hard and leave the listener feeling pumped up and ready for battle. 

The sound quality here is excellent, with every instrument, as well as the vocals, coming through loud and clear. The melodies are beautiful and exciting. The musicianship is excellent. But the songs themselves are where the album truly shines. Blending loveliness with intensity—all anchored by a killer vocal performance by Sara VanderheydenInterbellum fills its brief runtime with six songs of high quality, leaving the listener both engaged and wanting more. Metalheads who dismiss symphonic metal for being somehow “fluffier” than most other types of metal might need to rethink their position once they hear this release. 

Effigy of Aftermath,” which had previously been released, fades in and gets the listener pumped up for the rest of the album. The song simply sounds epic. The pace is quite speedy and the vocals absolutely wail. What we have here is a track that is both catchy and intense. The orchestral and metal elements are well-blended. We also get some truly speedy guitar work that impresses, but also fits the song. The songwriting is dynamic. It’s hard not to get pumped up at a song this epic. 

A beautiful folky intro begins “Foretelling.” Cathubodua gives us a great sound here. The vocals are bit more ethereal in the early parts of this track, which works quite well. The celtic/folky sound is endless engaging. The vocals are awesome and very catchy. The song builds in intensity and ends up sounding like a battle song. I also want to note the appealing instrumental section. 

Will Unbroken” features both a killer riff and beautiful vocal melodies. Another aspect that jumps out at the listener in terms of the songwriting is the powerful use of rhythm here. On the whole, “Will Unbroken” features some of the album’s best riffing, as well as some of its catchiest melodies. I’d go so far as to say that this song is an album highlight. 

The next song is “Amidst Gods.” Here we get some nice keyboard work, as well as a catchy, even thrashy riff. The drum work on this track is powerful and even kicks up the intensity to the level of blast beats. The vocals are once again amazing, always sung to fit the needs of the song. On this track they even push into the realms of the operatic, and it works quite well. Riffs are a highlight on this track. 

The Mirror” is a lovely ballad. It begins with a delicate, even a haunting, sound. The vocals are softer here and are simply gorgeous. We also get a beautiful use of strings. Everything here adds up to a lovely song. 

The album concludes with a more epic track called, “Goddess Fallacy.” The song starts slow and lovely before ramping up in intensity. We get an epic sound here with a killer chorus. This chorus blends excellent melodies and powerful, driving rhythms. Kudos belongs to Cathubodua for dynamic songwriting. Sara’s vocal prowess is once again on full display and she owns every note. We have more excellent use of strings. The bridge of the song gets quite heavy, utilizing harsh vocals, before seguing into a lovely, softer section. There is a wonderful instrumental section, expertly blending orchestral and metallic elements. The ending of the song is both epic and memorable. 

At only six songs and a little over half an hour, Cathuobuda keeps things short and sweet and leaves the listener wanting more. If you have hitherto not been a fan of symphonic metal, thinking it too “fluffy” for your taste, then please give Interbellum a listen. This is intense symphonic metal with a high level of musicianship and a powerhouse vocal performance. If I had to sum up the sound of this album in one word, it would be epic

Curtis’ rating: 9/10

CATHUBODUA Album Cover

TRACKLIST:

  1. Effigy Of Aftermath
  2. Foretelling
  3. Will Unbroken
  4. Amidst Gods
  5. The Mirror
  6. Goddess Fallacy

ALBUM LINE-UP:

Sara Vanderheyden – Vocals & Orchestrations
Arvid Vermote – Violin
Robin Ritzen – Guitars
Peter Thielemans – Bass
Harald Bouten – Drums

Producer: Yarne Heylen / Project Zero Studio Mixing/Mastering: Erwin Hermsen / Toneshed Recording Studio

Cover Artwork: Jelle van Loo

DISCOGRAPHY

2016 – Opus I: Dawn (EP) • 2018 – The Journey Of Lysilde (Single)• 2019 . Continuum • 2024 – Interbellum

https://www.cathubodua.com + https://www.facebook.com/Cathubodua.be + https://www.instagram.com/cathubodua_metal + https://www.youtube.com/Cathuboduametalband

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