This one came out of nowhere and landed on my desk via the actual mail. Once I’d remembered how CDs worked, I popped it in and gave it a spin… Santa Cruz released their debut in 2013, and it’s taken them six years to follow it up as the main man Archie and the rest of the band parted ways. He recruited new members, took on board producer Kane Churko and the result is out this week.
Santa Cruz’s style is old school mainstream rock, the kind of thing I was raised on until the beast that is metal took over a lot of my musical catalogue. But you know what? I still like it. I loved going to see Rock of Ages and most of the radio I listen to is classic rock. What we have here is a modern day 1980s classic rock release. It’s like time travel, only you’ve not heard the songs before.
“Changing of Seasons” opens things, but isn’t the best song on here. “Bang Bang” pretty much tells you that the producer has worked with Five Finger Death Punch, but “Into The War” is the first real pearl. Pretty light, but building to a great chorus it harks back to the likes of Van Halen and Def Leppard. Cracking stuff.
“I Want You To Mean It” is your guaranteed ballad and “True Believer” is a bit more of a foot stomper. There are plenty of other good numbers, such as “Smoke Signals” (which makes me think of Linkin Park) and the great cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” to wrap things up.
While not bursting with originality, this isn’t the point of Katharsis. It’s a modern-day retelling of the 80s and it does the job well. The only thing I think they’ve got wrong is releasing the album in October when it would have been a great soundtrack for the summer.
Header image by The Rockin’ Ryan
Katharsis is out on October 18th