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Guitarist Trevor Peres was known in the late '80s and early '90s for his work with Florida death metal heroes Obituary. Along with Death, Morbid Angel, and others, Peres and Obituary practically defined a musical movement marked by its extreme riffing and cartoonish imagery focusing on all things dark, evil, and bloody. The band released several very successful records for Roadrunner Records, beginning with 1989's Slowly We Rot and continuing through most of the '90s. After six releases, Obituary had run its course, and Peres went on to form his own band that would allow him to pursue a slightly different musical direction. Peres formed Catastrophic shortly afterward, with Brian Hobbie (bass), Keith DeVito (vocals) Chris Basile (guitars), and Rob Maresca on drums. The group recorded demos and made several appearances at important U.S. metal events (like the Milwaukee Metalfest) before signing with Metal Blade Records in the summer of 2000. The group's debut, The Cleansing, was then released in 2001 to generally good reviews. Combining something of a New York hardcore toughness to their well-bred death metal, Catastrophic forged a sound that while not completely unique, at least compares favorably with the many similar artists competing for a share of the 21st century extreme metal market.