Cathalepsy “Blood and Steel” for #MetalChronicles

19 min read

Band: Cathalepsy
Title: Blood and Steel
Label: Rock Of Angels Records
Release date: July 14th, 2023
Country: Chile
Format reviewed: High-Quality Digital Promo

“CATHALEPSY “Blood and Steel”: The Journey Back to Heavy Metal; Steel Resurgence”

“Embark on an electrifying journey back to heavy metal’s roots with CATHALEPSY’s album “Blood and Steel”.  Join legendary metal icons as they infuse your veins with the pure essence of steel. Prepare for a breathtaking trip through the golden era of old-school heavy metal”  by Elyna Steel.

Cathalepsy, a band hailing from Valparaiso, Chile, was founded by Luigi Ansaldi in 1998. Guitarist Fabian Valdes joined afterwards.  In 2006, they released their album ‘Fight in the Sky’ under the record label Orión Records, with distribution by Risestar Music and Promotion. The album was composed entirely by Luigi Ansaldi. Unfortunately, the band’s journey was short-lived, and due to various reasons, they dissolved.

In 2019, Luigi decided to resurrect the band’s name, this time as a project, and embarked on the adventure of creating new material for a forthcoming album, joining Fabian again for the journey. and composing powerful, energetic songs with thought-provoking lyrics, embodying  the essence of Heavy Metal. That is the origin of “Blood and Steel”, their second album released on July 14, 2023. 

Cathalepsy  line up are Luigi Ansaldi on drums, Fabian Valdes on bass and guitars. Danilo Bar is guest guitarist in track 1. Additionally, and as a long-term dream, the guys joined to this project a dreamed group of guests. They are: singers Tim “Ripper” Owens, Ralf Scheepers , Harry Conklin, Herbie Langhans, Frank Beck , Giacomo Voli, Ivan Giannini , Thiago Bianchi Readman, plus guitarists Joel Hoekstra, Roland Grapow, Ross The Boss , Glen Drover, Pontus Norgren , Thobbe Englund, Jens Ludwig , Danilo Bar, Sigurd Fylling and keyboardists Scott Warren and Oliver Palotai. With this amazing cover letter in mind, let’s give an in-depth examination to each of the 9 tracks of this second chapter of Cathalepsy’s discography;

  1. We Are the Warriors
  2. Heavy Metal Faith
  3. Hammer Heart  
  4. Blood and Steel
  5. Emptiness
  6. Rockstar
  7. The Final Battle
  8. Song of Ice and Fire
  9. Hammer Heart (orchestral version)

“We are the warriors” is track 1, running for 03:00’ and performed by the mighty Tim «Ripper» Owens (ex-Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen, Iced Earth) on vocals. It has a catchy, energetic video clip on YouTube, all about musical and vocals’  mastery, twinkling flames and strobe lights that intermingle with the background, some abandoned and gloomy warehouse that gives it an eighties touch.

The narrative conveys a strong sense of camaraderie, courage, and defiance in the face of conflict. It speaks of the spirit of warriors coming together, ready to face any challenge that comes their way. Loyalty to others and to the cause, as well as rejection of external forces that seek to impose their beliefs or control are the basis of the spirit of any warrior, perfectly represented here. The metaphorical disdain for Christianity, where warriors fight not only for victory, but also for the honor and glory of their traditions and beliefs, is a rallying cry for unity, courage and the willingness to stand up and fight for what you believe, no matter what.

This narrative also tells us about the importance of critical thinking to face different external influences without allowing them to corrupt our intrinsic values, beyond the society in which we live. Overall it is not only catchy, anthem-like lyrics but also a calling to reflection and resistance against any force that tries to manipulate us.

The composition is pure 80’s classic power metal at a fast tempo in a 4/4 compass in the style of Iced Earth, Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray, among others. It kicks off with melodic riffs and powerful drum rolls that introduce Tim’s unmistakable voice  in harmonizations. From the first second your skin crawls and it gets you in the mood to start a headbanger frenzy while you sing at the top of your lungs. 

The choruses are in several voices as well, Hammerfall style, so catchy that it is impossible guys, impossible to remain unmoved! It makes you want to jump, mosh, in short, a raw delight for the ear.

And those devilish drums afterwards, and those wonderful, bright and harmonious riffs swifting the picking mid to fast send you straight to the stratosphere. 

The last verses and choruses follow the same previous structure –  delicious rhythmic base, melody and vocals at a fast tempo, 4/4…AT HOME for a power metal fan (like me). 

With an abrupt and unison ending, this first track is a classic wonder that fills you with adrenaline and a feeling of joyful nostalgia. Marvelous!

Track 2 is “Heavy metal Faith”, enduring 03:46’ and Frank Beck in vocals (Gamma Ray), Pontus Norgren (Hammerfall) and Glen Drover (ex-Megadeth, King Diamond, Testament) in guitars.

This track is an ode to what is being part of the Heavy Metal movement, basically alcohol, women and rock and roll. In a way, this song is the golden book of Heavy Metal: the phrase “we are the true heavy metal faith, we drink beer every night” says a lot.

But it’s not just that if you pay closer attention – not all heavy metalheads look for that only. The glory of picking up your guitar, or singing, or drumming on stage and being able  to make the music that fills your veins is ultimately the main objective of keeping faith in Heavy Metal. It is a refuge and more than that, it is an ether in which you can express yourself wildly and freely, where you can make great friends, comrades in arms and where love is lived intensely, madly. After all, that is life, being able to feel, touch, vibrate.

Seemingly simple, this lyric is much deeper than you think and it’s so catchy that surely will get stuck into your minds.

Musically the track is guitar-driven, though the rhythmic base is the perfect setting for the auditory wonder to emerge. A ride back to the late 80’s and the 90’s hand by hand with Gamma Ray, Groovy melody with invigorating riffs and drums in a 4/4 yet compass, yet some ¾  brief segments at a mid tempo. The tasty first verses come with powerful vocal harmonies, as does almost the entire song. It is impossible to stay still when listening to this: the foot moves by itself, the shoulders, the headbanger comes out spontaneously, it makes you want to dance with your fist raised ready for the Heavy Metal battle.

The choir is very happy, the energy felt is incredible, guys. Ît’s one of those choirs that become anthems with the passage of time – main voices in harmonies in a medium-low tone and choirs in a high tone in the background. Added to the devastating rhythmic base, it’s like a kick in the butt, the kind that gets you on your feet on a lazy day.

Between the first chorus and the second verse comes a bridge with a totally eighties and masterful guitar solo with brilliant slide harmonies and fast picking, wonderful! The second verse varies in vocal pitch, higher here in the purest Mikael Kiske style and Helloween vocal harmonies. The final chorus has the same sound pattern than the previous, on repeat three times and ending abruptly with Frank screaming from the very core.

Amazing journey this song is, a jewel if you like old-school heavy metal.!

“Hammer Heart” is track 3 on this album, clocks for 03:50′ and features the mighty Ralf Scheepers on vocals, Roland Grapow and Thobbe Englund on guitars. With such powerhose guests, imagine how thunderous this track could be! Additionally, it boasts an animated clip on YouTube filled with vibrant colors and swirling flames.

Hammer Heart epitomizes the fiercest, bravest, most fearsome warrior of all time. Born in the horror of war, he was raised by his father with the creed to never surrender or bow down, to fight and conquer like the best. The sword and steel are his constant companions, a death machine always prepared for battle, dedicated to protecting his world. He embodies the warriors of yesteryears, feared by gods and demons alike, indomitable in spirit. This song serves as his anthem, resonating with all who possess a hammer heart and an unyielding will to defend their own, to conquer the elusive.

Guys, mark my words: this anthem will be etched in your memory. Its power, catchiness, and addictive quality make it one of the greatest war hymns I’ve ever heard.

The composition is in a fast tempo at a 4/4 compass recalling Iced Earth, Blind Guardian or Gamma Ray. With the initial riffs your heart is pumped up hard! Brightful, harmonic guitars, demolishing drums and bass at an exquisite speed set the stage to the first verses -linked, no chorus in between- where maestro Ralf Sheepers delights with his brilliant, sharp, extremely powerful voice. The melody in the intermezzos is like a rollercoaster up and down with the adrenaline on top. The chorus is sublime, old-school, dark power metal in tone. Voices and melody merge in a perfect, mighty balance and you can’t help feeling the wish to take your sword and jump into the battle, is astonishing! 

And after this, an epic guitar solo. Here the music echoes Helloween and Masterplan – the guitar speaks!  Spotless, perfect performance!

The final, powerful intermezzo and chorus comes afterwards, like the previous ones yet it gives an extra dose of adrenaline and you wanna raise the sword to the sky,  ready for war! Abrupt ending for an incredible track. Guys, this one will ignite you from 0 to 1000%!

The following track is “Emptiness” clocking in at 03; 48’ featuring Ivan Giannini ( Vision Divine, Derdian, Air Force) on vocals and Jens Ludwig (Edguy) on guitars.. This has an interesting animated lyric YouTube clip, with comic-like drawings and a catchy palette.

Now, this song  is worth a fangirl moment, for Ivan is one of my favorite Gods in metal. if you don’t know him, go and give a listen, Ivan is AMAZING! What a thunderous, commanding, heartfelt voice he has!  Each time I listen to him, chills all around, it’s insane! If there is a concept to define Ivan would be A VOLCANO, all about power, fire! 10.000% recommended. 

The song talks about how tough love can be and how scary it feels when we’re left feeling empty. Life and love are complicated and sometimes unfair. But even when things get hard, we need to believe that we deserve good things. We have to keep fighting and not give up. Healing is important, and to heal, we need to calm the negative thoughts in our heads that tell us we can’t do it, that the pain is too much. We can’t listen to those thoughts! Love always finds a way to reach us, giving us chances to heal and grow. We just need to learn to accept to be loved without being afraid and let go of all toxic patterns holding us back to receive and give love. It’s tough, but it’s possible!

Musically, this amazing  ride is at a fast pace at 4/4 compass, kicking off with an intense drum roll and roaring, harmonic riffs. The first verses introduce the mighty Ivan Giannini in its middle register, alternating to high at the end of the line in some passages. His voice resonates like a volcano, a lion’s roar! And along with the melodic base, it’s like a blow straight to the head that leaves you in ecstasy, adrenaline up to the clouds! The intermezzo feels like a bow and you are an arrow, up to be launched. A vibrato riff and a drum roll at the beginning of the chorus is the shot of the bow and you go straight into the stratosphere! The melodic and the rhythmic power display continues throughout.  Majestic harmonic vocals from this chorus section are invigorating. Ivan, that volcano in human form makes your blood boil every time he approaches the microphone. His interpretive power is impressive, guys! The song’s structure remains consistent. until the guitar solo section. One after another, different figures, slides, pickings, full of energy and some nostalgia -you find here Allen-Lande, Helloween, Edguy, Gamma Ray, a wonderful section!

The verses of the final intermezzo bring us Ivan singing loudly with his heart in his throat and the melody and rhythm burning to such a point that you can visualize the flames. Those drums, those guitars are heavenly – or hellish, whichever seems more impactful to you. Then the last thunders of the chorus and the abrupt ending, which leave you with your heart racing after a full-throttle trip at the speed of light. 

This is one of my favorite tracks, not only because my dear Ivan is on the microphone, but also because the sound power of the song is wonderful, capable of waking the dead from the graves! Incredible work guys!

Track 5 is “Blood and Steel” featuring Harry Conklin (Cloven Hoof, Jag Panzer)on vocals and Sigurd Fylling (Darkest Sins) on lead guitar.

In the heart of the Kingdom, ten thousand warriors gathered, their spirits aflame with purpose. With shields locked in formation and swords gleaming in the sunlight, they awaited the coming storm. Above them, hymns soared, reverberating through the air, while prayers ascended to the Thunder and the Gods, seeking their divine protection.

Amidst the tension, fear found no place among them, for their faith in victory burned brighter than any shadow. And so, beneath a sky heavy with the weight of impending battle, they advanced as one, ready to meet their fate with unwavering resolve.

This classic imagery of mighty warriors preparing for battle drifted my mind  to the iconic scene of King Theoden and his gallant Rohirrim facing Sauron’s menacing army at Minas Tirith. It stirred nostalgia, especially with the recent passing of Bernard Hill, who portrayed Theoden unforgettably.

Reflecting on that legendary confrontation, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer courage displayed by those fictional heroes. Their bravery resonates across time, inspiring us to face our own challenges with resilience and determination. In honoring the memory of those we’ve lost, let’s also celebrate the enduring legacy of their stories. as well as the stories of those anonymous heroes who struggle each day with different armies – anxiety, depression, war-  yet are capable of making it another day. They all remind us that courage is a timeless virtue, able to light the way through even the darkest of times.

The composition maintains a mid-tempo groove in 4/4 time signature, opening with flawless riffs and drums reminiscent of Helloween/Gamma Ray. The melody evokes the sensation of riding along the edge of a cliff, a thrilling adventure awaiting. Harry’s entrance is fierce, his vocals raw and commanding, akin to a Captain rallying his warriors with blood and steel. The bridge seamlessly transitions into the chorus, both flowing with the same rhythmic intensity.

Following the chorus, a dazzling guitar solo takes center stage, supported by commanding riffs from the lead guitars. The bass section then joins in, guiding us through the remainder of the journey. With interludes, repeated choruses, and an abrupt ending, the ride comes to its end. Epic!

Track 6 es “Rockstar”. Guys, if you are a fan of Gamma Ray/Helloween’s more perishable songs, this ride is for you. Clocking in at 04:03’, this ride has amazing guests: maestros David Readman (Voodoo Circle, Pink Cream 69, Almanac, Adagio) and Joel Hoekstra (Revolution Saints, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Foreigner). 

Heroes don’t always wear capes: sometimes they carry guitars, microphones, bass and drums. “Rockstar” tells us about the antithesis of the model citizen who complies with the norms established by society. The rock star lives wildly, drinks beer, has fun, makes music, lives life without major worries. For many purists, that way of life is not compatible with a decent citizen. However, the rock star was born to be a cathartic archetype of all the shit that society wants to impose on us: work, spin the wheel, don’t have much fun, don’t be very happy, don’t live! And what does the rock star do? Exactly the opposite. Let’s be honest: more than once we have all wanted to be this brave and be able to say to hell everything that doesn’t make us happy, to be brave to live our craziest dreams. The party and the beer are not the ultimate goal but rather symbols of joy and brotherhood, of relaxation, of that freedom that life, the model, the status quo want to take away from us by convincing us that worthwhile dreams are only those who bring us money. FAKE!  If you have a dream, dress like your rock star heroes and go for it. Life is short and it is fair to live it as one pleases as long as it does not harm others. So, you know, BE THE ROCKSTAR OF YOUR NATION, the capeless heroes of a heavy metal band!

At a 4/4 compass in a mid-tempo Andante, this track has the essence of the NWOBHM. The intro echoes the legendary guitar harmonizations of Helloween’s  “I want out” yet in a lower key. David takes center stage then. The melody and the voice converge in a fusion that feels natural, it is Heavy Metal Old School, but it feels soft, and pleasant. The intermezzo gives the sensation of getting into a car about to embark on a crazy trip, which comes with the chorus. Riffs, rhythmic base, voices, everything is joy, relaxation and at the same time adrenaline.

Then the bright, luminous guitar solos and harmonic vocalizations, so familiar and yet so freshening, chills are guaranteed. Then we reach the final chorus. In a higher key, same rhythmic pattern yet groovy and abrupt ending. The vibe of the song is up, to heaven, it leaves you in a good mood to face another day – maybe and if there is enough energy, like a Rock Star! Great track!

Continuing with the journey we find another of my favorites from the album,  track 7, “The Final Battle” enduring for 05;39’ and featuring  Thiago Bianchi ( Arena, Karma, Noturnall, Shaman) and Giacomo Voli (Rhapsody of Fire) on vocals. Jesus! Such amazing guest singers!

The narrative behind this incredible track could make more than one person tear their clothes, as it is anti-Christian. But more than anti-Christian, it is anti-religious. It tells us about the final battle against the greatest sin of humanity, the Church. That is the true evil that keeps the planet under a spell of fear, stealing our faith to deposit it in something external, in an unstable and hate-filled God who wants worship so shame on sending you to hell if you don’t listen to him. There is a call to fight with honor against the lies of the Church, against its campaign of terror and segregation in which either you are theirs, or you are the Devil – parallel to the Sith vision of Star Wars: “If not You are with me, you are my enemy.” That’s why the crusades, that’s why the Inquisition, that’s why the persecution of those who don’t profess religion – as if Christ, Buddha, Muhammad had come to form religions! 

What halfway logical head fits the idea that this could be an expression of divine love? Only in a mind clouded by fear and fanaticism. Personally, I adhere to it. I am not anti-Christian at all, I have my faith in something greater that lives within us. And not only does it inhabit, we are that greater thing, we are that expression of life and love that is the main creative and healing force that exists, that is why I believe that the institution of the Church is one of the biggest sins and lies in the history of humanity, since it traffics in our fears, our dreams and hopes and takes away our inner power and transfers it to external entities – like dementors, they drain our life. Guys, these lyrics are provocative, and I thank you for it.

The musical structure is in 4/4 time at a fast tempo, beginning with thunderous riffs and rhythmic base that echoes the best of old school heavy/power metal: Gamma Ray, Edguy, Helloween, Blind Guardian, Iced Earth. It’s like hitting the jackpot when listening to a song!  

The first verses are by Thiago Bianchi. What a powerful voice you have, Thiago! No wonder Shaman joined you in their ranks! The sharp guitars accelerate while the rhythmic base sets the pace, akin to a march of warriors ready for the final war, while Thiago’s imposing voice feels like a war cry that triggers your adrenaline. 

The chorus is incredibly moving: it’s like charging into battle with a heart full of pride and courage. Thiago and Giacomo’s alternating vocal harmonies, along with the triumphant melody, make you want to jump and headbang like there’s no tomorrow. Giacomo’s performance in the second verse is nothing short of divine and captures the essence of Italian greatness – Rhapsody of Fire indeed.

Then after the second chorus, there is a complex series of bridges with several progressions. A bright guitar section slows things down, accompanied by haunting harmonized vocals that take on a darker tone. But just when you’re enveloped in melancholy, the mood changes with brilliant guitar progressions and an impressive drum roll. Thiago takes the lead vocals, bringing the drums to a wonderful thrasher section. Wow, what a ride guys!  I really hope you feel the same adrenaline that I felt in my stomach for about 2 hours – yes, in a row, for the song is incredible!

And coming to the end of this chapter, track 8, “Song of Ice and Fire” lasting for 08:22’ and featuring Oliver Palotai (Kamelot, Doro Pesch) on keyboards, Thobbe Englund (Sabaton, Civil War, Raubtier, Winterlong) on guitars and Herbie Langhans (Avantasia, Radiant, Firewind, Sinbreed, Beyond the Bridge, Voodoo Circle) on vocals.

Daenerys Targeryan, Mother of Dragons, which will not burn and her crusade to get the bravest, biggest army and thus conquer the Seven Kingdoms back to her family are the center of this story, beautifully named in honor of the elements of ice and fire that intersect in the narrative of Game of Thrones. 

The revolution in the Kingdom has enveloped the city, driven by a thirst for justice against the tyrannical rule of the kings. Amidst bloodshed and vengeance, the Mother of Dragons call the Unsullied, the remnant of the Dothdraki, and all who wish to join the cause of freedom to join her army, emerging as a symbol of resilience and power. Through the roar and fire of Daenerys’ children, the Dragons, resounds the call to war and faith, urging unity and freedom. In the face of destruction, the dragon’s voice rises, heralding a new era of hope and victory. 

I love this story – I am a fan of GOT so thanks a lot guys.

This track is mainly guitar-driven and like every epic song, it is divided into several sections, following a 4/4 rhythmic pattern in tempo that varies between medium, fast, slow and medium. When starting the first riff you immediately notice the greats of power metal, Edguy, Avantasia, that kind of masterpieces that only some can enjoy during the 08s; 22′ that the song lasts. Cavalcades, bombastic marches, bravery, honor, all those feelings the first passages of the song transmit to me thanks to the riffs of Thobbe and company. Herbie then enters the first verse with a powerful voice, and he performs with so much passion that I still have the chorus “Mother of Dragons, which will not burn” stuck in my head, and I love it! The chorus is catchy, energetic, making your head moving alone! After the chorus comes an extensive bridge where the guitars take center stage with two-voice riffs, slides, pickings and a roaring melodic base. Then a spectacular multiple crescendo, another section that starts with wonderful riffs along with the voice, at a faster pulse, simply spectacular. Then another section of harmonic guitars with two voices and a medium to fast rhythm, exquisite. Then another crescendo…and calm comes. Oliver’s keyboard gives a melancholic turn to the song. Here Herbie comes in singing heartfeltly and you feel your skin crawl – I confess, I got a little emotional, a little tear fell here – it reminded me of a wonderful song by the Finns Nibiru Ordeal, “Namida’s Tear”, super emotional. If you haven’t heard it, I recommend it 10,000%. And then…another wonder. A spectacular crescendo and a multiple chorus supported by the guitars, the melodic base and that impressive slow-mid tempo drums, Avantasia style. Then we return to the rhythmic and melodic structure of the beginning in the last verse and chorus – and that line, “Mother of Dragons….” you will sing it anywhere without realizing.  How catchy it is!  Then the choir and a short progression before the final chords, ending in unison abruptly. 

Definitely a masterpiece and another of my favorites.

And closing this exciting journey, track 9, “Hammer Heart” in an orchestrated version featuring Ross the Boss (Manowar) on guitars and Scott Warren (Type O Negative, Dio Disciples, Hellion, Heaven and Hell, Dio, Keel) on keyboards. This version is more melodic power metal, spectacular though, it has all the elements of the previous version, yet the keyboards add another layer of perfection to the overall, and Ross’s guitars are electrifying. I love this song guys, both versions are epic! 

It’s very difficult to free yourself from this song guys, it’s so good, so catchy that I assure you’ll be singing it and playing and replaying it on your playlist just like me. I hope so, for the ride is worth the stuck!

In the face of so much mastery, one feels small and at the same time fascinated. Yes, the album could be classified as “generic” within the style, without many variations or big surprises. But there is one detail that those who may have that perception forget: IT IS HEAVY/POWER METAL IN ESSENCE. And I am a power metalhead in essence, therefore this album is one of the best of the genre that I have had the pleasure of listening to. It’s a trip to the old school, to the NWOBHM, to the early days. A homecoming, so to speak. And another thing: what unmatched guest artists, and what a giant you are Luigi, that drum of yours is impressively powerful, wonderful. Thank you for daring to materialize that dream that seemed truncated years ago and that brought “Blood and Steel” into existence. And thanks to you, teachers, for helping that dream come true in this gem of power metal – double pride, I am Chilean, compatriot of the enormous Cathalepsy!

Therefore, I, Elyna Steel, give the album “Blood and Steel” by my fellows from Cathalepsy the rate: 10/10 by Elynna Steel

Music YouTube
Music Apple


10/10 Immortal Classic
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre**