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Heavy mettle



Mississippi metal band Cathercist takes its music — but little else — seriously.

The grueling path of an upstart, touring hard-rock band is taxing to be sure, with sweaty dudes packed into cramped vans and scraping by from city to city with just enough cash to put gas in the tank. But the five-piece has found a little mischief to be the perfect remedy, rolling into each town blaring Three 6 Mafia with the windows down, ready to unleash loud music and a little mayhem.

Tour mates like Taproot have felt the brunt of most Cathercist’s pranks, ranging from run-of-the-mill gags to Saran-wrapping unsuspecting players from head to toe mid-performance.

The coup de grâce, though, was pulled on Cincinnati six-piece A Liar’s Eyes, who had the final song of its set one night punctuated with a shower of rubbers worthy of R. Kelly’s Saturday night.

“We ran to the Walmart across the street and bought armfuls of the cheapest condoms money could buy,” bassist Mikhail Cintgran said. “It took about 15 minutes to blow up over 100 condoms. It was disgusting … our faces were covered in lube. We climbed the rafters, and during their last song, we just started raining condom balloons everywhere. The crowd thought it was just part of the show until they started getting their hands on them.”

Cathercist is looking forward to topping that on this national tour with American Head Charge, which brings the outfit through Oklahoma City on Monday. Still, more focus is set upon the grind of showing the band’s mettle to each night’s crowd.

The band has opened for the likes of Seether and Sevendust and has shared a spot on festival bills with Korn and Avenged Sevenfold since its formation in 2010 and understands the oft-thankless reception all too well.

“You go out with something to prove. You have to try and measure up to some of the most popular bands on the planet right now,” Cintgran said. “The first couple times, it kind of feels like you are greeted with a collective ‘eh.’ Eventually, they decide they like you, though. You build a resiliency that is necessary to playing in a hard-rock band. It’s difficult to break into, but once you do, you’re in.”

Cathercist is dead set on sticking around, too. A lineup reshuffle in late 2012 was deemed necessary to cast the band with brave souls willing to dedicate themselves fully to rock ’n’ roll, and that new group recorded and released a new album, As Hope Expires — drawing from inspirations as varied as Lamb of God and Muse — in May of last year.

Produced by Matt LaPlant (Nonpoint, Skindred), the album features some of the most self-aware and unflinching songwriting the band has rafted to date, with songs like “Nightmare” — whose chorus is anchored by the line “There’s no escape/ Isn’t this what you wanted anyway/ Sometimes your dreams become your nightmare” — revealing an honest look at the struggle that pursuing music invariably bears.

With touring, new music and more planned for 2014, Cathercist is at rest with those demons and ready for anything and everything lying ahead.

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