Saturday, 9 November 2013

Review; Kataklysm - Waiting For The End To Come

Track Listing:

1. Fire
2. If I Was God...I'd Burn It All
3. Like Animals
4. Kill The Elite
5. Under Lawless Skies
6. Dead & Buried
7. The Darkest Days Of Slumber
8. Real Blood, Real Scars
9. The Promise
10. Empire Of Dirt
11. Elevate

Kataklysm are a great Death Metal band with twenty-one years of experience behind them. One could be forgiven, at times, with trying to label them as Melodic Death Metal but whilst I wouldn't say the band's music is as atonal as the likes of Cannibal Corpse, it doesn't have the same melodic nature as Melodic Death Metal bands do. There's real balls to Kataklysm's music. Despite this, they have never been one of the first Death Metal bands mentioned in conversations I've had, which I think is a huge mishap. There have been some killer records in their catalogue, and they are absolutely crushing during their live shows. 'Waiting For The End To Come" is their tenth full-length studio album, and as I start to listen to it, I know partially what to expect.

The way the album opens with the whiplash-inducing 'Fire' almost feels like the band are starting the album with a statement of "Abandon hope all ye who enter here". Not in the way that you're left facepalming due to mediocrity, but in the way that is metal as fuck and taps into the fiery recesses of the metalhead psyche. Hell, as lyrics go "I summon thee, oh… great fire, To bring eternal devastation" is about as awesomely metal as it gets! As the second track rolls in, the onslaught only picks up pace. Unbelievably tight, high speed drumming gives the music the majority of its tonne-weight heaviness, as has always been the case. There are pretty good guitar and bass sections to be heard through it all, and Maurizio Iacono's vocal delivery is as devastating as ever, all the while anchoring the lightspeed music to the ground.

By the time 'Like Animals' hits, the album, to some, could run the risk of being samey. The provided antidote to this comes in a few breaks from the speed drumming, during which the guitars are able to deliver more memorable riffs. While the lyrical themes so far aren't already well explored in the world of metal, the delivery in Maurizio's brilliant vocals cannot be faulted. He stands among very few Death Metal vocalists as somebody who is able to perform guttural vocals without the lyrics becoming unintelligible. A steady build up at the start of 'Kill The Elite' leads to music that you feel you have heard already on the album, but the chorus in the song is worth it. Besides which, some may feel that the old "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" adage may apply to Kataklysm as much as it does to AC/DC or Motorhead.

The thing helping the songs thus far is that none of them feel to long. They are all cohesive, quick one-two sucker punches that prevent the album from sounding long. This isn't anything progressive, Kataklysm could be accused of repeating themselves, as I've mentioned, but at the end of the day, the simplicity of the record is one of it's biggest assets. 'Under Lawless Skies' comes with some great riffs and more screeched vocals, and at various points it feels strangely soulful for such heavy music. The same is to be said of 'Dead & Buried' with the side-note that the riff directly after the chorus lines is one of my favourites on the album. 'The Darkest Days Of Slumber' is another very strong point.

While 'Real Blood, Real Scars' washes over me a little bit, 'The Promise' has top notch riffs and a rhythm that stands out in the album. Though it bears less of the speed moments that fans may crave constantly from Kataklysm, for me this helps the album gel together. Besides; the speed is back for 'Empire of Dirt', which would send any crowd into a fit of headbanging, either within or outside of a circle pit.

It's rare for me to find the last song on an album to be the best therein, but 'Elevate', which also serves as the first single from the record, is absolutely flawless as a song! It's truly catchy, heavy as sin and the lead guitar lines at the intro and chorus, whilst fairly simplistic, have an almost serene beauty that I haven't heard on a metal song this heavy in a long time. 'Elevate' is exactly the kind of closing song that makes you want to start listening to the album over again, all the while bringing a successfully executed album to a satisfying close. I myself can't wait to hear the band perform these songs live on their upcoming UK tour, and I will be at the Glasgow show, screaming along to every word I can. Kataklysm have done very well here.

Rating: 8/10

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