Gatto Black '2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed' artwork

Gatto Black – ‘2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed’ Review: A Captivatingly Raw Experience

Gatto Black is taking over the post-hardcore world with their debut EP, '2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed.' Is it worth a listen? Find out in our review.

Sal Mastrocola never seems to take a break. Sal seems to do everything from being a dad to putting music out into the world and making sweet reels on Instagram. Putting his former band EXNATIONS in the rearview mirror, Sal Mastrocola has unleashed his latest project, Gatto Black, onto the world and, with it, a debut EP titled 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed.

But, is Gatto Black’s debut release, 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed, just Sal and a gaggle of friends screaming around echo-filled bathrooms? Or is Gatto Black following in the likes of Thursday and slowly getting ready to take over the post-hardcore music scene? Let’s find out.

“We gotta monetize everything,” Sal Mastrocola screeches on “Infinite Monetization.” The first track leading listeners into 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed is an unfortunate look at today’s world where monetization is vital; every photo in your phone has a price tag, and your sadness has an audience.

“Infinite Monetization” is a straight banger filled with an abundance of relatable angst. Straight to the point, Gatto Black pushes back on our social norms and brings the dirt ally into the limelight with fire and passion.

Lyrically, “Infinite Monetization” is filled with real-world storytelling, creating a realistic narrative that will have listeners screaming along to “but I’m still numb.” Instrumentally, the track keeps the momentum high and fills the void with a wall of sound, creating personal mosh pits in bedrooms as the walls crumble in your mind.

Joining Gatto Black in their fight against our broken world systems is Hotel Etiquette, helping to bring “I See The Future” to life in a larger-than-life fashion, continuing the wall of sound introduced in “Infinite Monetization.”

“I See The Future” made me angry, blood rushing, heart pounding, and ready to throw down. “I See The Future” is the perfect live show experience wrapped in a nice less than three-minute runtime. Gatto Black’s screaming guitars and big sound drum beats lasso together perfectly with the lingering bass lines to create a captivating experience in the form of “I See The Future.”

I’d love to hear the track stripped back with nothing but acoustics to help push the song’s vocal melodies to higher levels of disdain. “I See The Future” is perfect in execution and kept me coming back for more.

“Do you ever want to fucking scream?” All the damn time, and “Scream” is the perfect song to scream along to. Sal Mastrocola has never sounded better than he does on “Scream,” vocal melodies filled with a fiery passion and unrelenting energy. It’s all a chef’s kiss for the senses.

“Scream” cuts down just a smidge on Gatto Black’s screeching guitars to let listeners in just a little closer before exploding in a blaze of “fuck you” attitude. “Scream” has a clear-cut purpose and presents itself as one of the best tracks on 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed. A track I’ll most likely come back to when I need to let out some screams.

If you find yourself with only enough time to check out one of Gatto Black’s blazoned tracks, make it “Scream.” You’ll have nothing to lose but your voice.

“99 Lives” is an experience all by itself. An acoustic ballad right on the heels of “Scream” is the perfect way to bring energy levels back to neutral without losing the fiery passion the three previous tracks have been setting up.

The acoustics found on “99 Lives” are raw, broken, and filled with emotional weight it could sink to the bottom of the ocean. When paired effortlessly with Sal Mastrocola’s haunting vocal delivery, it makes for a memorable experience built atop a mountain of pain and eye twitches.

“99 Lives” is close to being a personal favorite and should have no problem filling that void for any listener who crosses this song’s path.

“Last Ditch Attempt” is probably the track I spent the most time with, as it’s also the first song I listened to from Gatto Black. It combines the EP’s overall angst with a dash of anxiety and caffeine withdrawal. Quickly becoming the anthem for all adults still chasing the sunset.

Truth be told, I absolutely hated “Last Ditch Attempt” on my first listen; I thought the track was messy and filled with useless narratives. But the more I listened, the more it became a top-five music experience, quickly rising to the top of the list regarding the tracks featured on 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed. Now, I find myself singing the song to myself in the mornings while putting together my cup of coffee.

“Last Ditch Attempt” has a lot of potential pushing it forward and should have no issues finding an audience that will fall in love with its broken skeleton and revealing nature.

“Keeper” has it all and lines itself up to be the best track featured on Gatto Black’s debut EP. Nostalgic for the late ’90s skate-punk sound, “Keeper” manages to bring that sound to a new age and combines nicely with the raw punk from the ’80s to create an out-of-this-world experience that had me singing, fist-pumping, and screaming alone in my car.

I’ve always said Sal Mastrocola is in his realm when being as vulnerable as possible, and “Keeper” keeps to this trend and further proves my point. Instrumentally, “Keeper” detours from the sound on display throughout, instead opting for a clean soundscape that’s playful, emotionally heavy, and soul-searching.

“Keeper” is a beautiful experience waiting to blossom and should make an appearance on my Spotify Wrapped playlist with the number of times I’ve had it on repeat.

Keeping things grim and hopeless, “Heaven Was A Letdown” is a beautiful escape from the same old, same old, creating a perfect finale to bookend an exceptionally telling debut release. Instrumentally, “Heaven Was A Letdown” is a masterclass on fierce sounds and painful delivery.

“Heaven Was A Letdown” plays with the senses as its brooding array of sound moves from left to right, a playful tease that keeps you hooked, wanting more.

Lyrically, “Heaven Was A Letdown” keeps the kid gloves off, attempting to keep the mind thinking, pulsing, and self-reflective revelations. The raw nature of a track like this keeps listeners intrigued, questioning, and starving for more.

Gatto Black’s debut EP, 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed, is all over the place for all the right reasons. It’s captivating, blood-rushing, and completely raw, and it’s these three qualities that have had me hooked, keeping the album glued to my recently played.

To answer my original question, Gatto Black is totally Sal Mastrocola and friends playing in echo-filled bathrooms. Still, these echo-filled chambers will catapult Gatto Black into the post-hardcore limelight sooner rather than later, and I can’t wait for what’s next.

If you’re a fan of physical media, you can also grab a copy of 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed via Triple Hammer Records and some other sweet swag.

Keep up with Gatto Black on social media: Instagram | TikTok | Facebook

Stream Gatto Black’s exciting debut EP, 2 Stressed 2 Be Blessed, on Spotify & Apple Music

Brandon Flores

Brandon Flores is editor-in-chief and a writer at Blast out your Stereo. He has been covering the music industry since 2011. He covers a wide variety of bands and artists from those just starting to those who already have a hold on the limelight. If you're looking for an unbiased opinion, then look no further.

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