Monday, 17 August 2015

Album Review; Kataklysm - Of Ghosts And Gods

Released Via Nuclear Blast
Genre: Death Metal

Track Listing:

1. Breaching The Asylum
2. The Black Sheep
3. Marching Through Graveyards
4. Thy Serpent's Tongue
5. Vindication
6. Soul Destroyer
7. Carrying Crosses
8. Shattered
9. Hate Spirit
10. The World Is A Dying Insect

The Canadian death metal institution Kataklysm have been on a rapid ascent over the years. True enough, in their now fifteen year tenure with Nuclear Blast, Kataklysm are yet to disappoint with their studio output. Gaining recognition and fans bit by bit as they go. Without a doubt, 2013's 'Waiting For The End To Come' saw them climb higher than anticipated, gain immense profile and draw in the live arena. They have been no stranger to festivals over the years but the last two years have seen the band seemingly work harder than ever. Now, with their follow-up, many hope to see a return on all the interest the band have cultivated. This means that 'Of Ghosts And Gods' cannot disappoint.

This is a band that, though rooted firmly within the realms of death metal, have never been afraid to put the odd subliminal twist upon their output. Stepping out of their comfort zone and taking their fans along for the ride. 'Of Ghosts And Gods' sees the band proceed again to new grounds. While still heavy enough to please all comers, the record carries a lot more melody than its predecessor. Opener 'Breaching The Asylum' proves this all-too-well. The song is catchy, with a lyrical message concerning the madness of religion in modern times, showing that frontman Maurizio Iacono hasn't lost the desire to invoke thought within the listener's mind.

Second track 'The Black Sheep' takes the bands sound further afield, as its heavy, heavy riffing power is built around a super-thick groove the likes that one would expect of a band like Devildriver or Lamb Of God rather than this death metal outfit. Recoil from that statement, you may; but the effect is huge. This is a song that is an iron-clad live contender. Look out for the pits with this song. 'Marching Through Graveyards' is reminiscent of the first track, but with a satisfying blast beat that will take seasoned Kataklysm fans back to the band's hyperblast beginnings. The same applies to 'Thy Serpent's Tongue'. This is more akin to old school Kataklysm but it also has a groove woven through it which saves it feeling like a total throwback.

If anything, the presence of the super-speed drumming of Oli Beaudoin at various points through the middle of the album helps this record achieve more heaviness than we heard on 'Waiting For The End To Come', and the song writing on this record feels that bit more complete. The groove element may lead to some fans turning their noses up at this record, but those people would be missing out on a solid, cohesive and smooth flowing album. There may well be people out there that were hoping to hear an album's worth of songs that sounded like 'Elevate' with this record, but my ears are more than happy to hear Kataklysm refusing to repeat themselves.

At the end of the day these are well-crafted songs that bear a lot of substance, a lot of heaviness and even more staying power. It may be a grower for some, and I would urge those people to stick by this album. As soon as I learned that Andy Sneap would be taking care of mixing this album, I knew it would sound great, and it does. Everything is clear and full of impact. If anything, this record exceeds 'Waiting For The End To Come' and should see Kataklysm's steady climb up the mountain that is the metal hierarchy continue ever stronger. After twenty three years as the underdogs, I think its about time that Kataklysm have their turn at the crown.

Rating: 9/10


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