Kataklysm – Prevail (2008, Nuclear Blast)
- Taking The World By Storm
- The Chains Of Power
- As Death Lingers
- Blood In Heaven
- To The Throne Of Sorrow
- Breathe To Dominate
- Tear Down The Kingdom
- The Vultures Are Watching
- The Last Effort (Renaissance II) (instrumental)
Maurizio Iacono – Vocals
Jean-François Dagenais – Guitars
Stéphane Barbe – Bass
Max Duhamel – Drums
Producer: Jean-François Dagenais
Total Time = 44:08
Montreal’s Kataklysm just released their ninth studio album, PREVAIL, and are considered one of Death Metal’s most consistent bands. Being that Death Metal is not my expertise, I turned this new album on and was completely surprised. To my ears most Death Metal sounds the same: a lot of unintelligible growls, blastbeats, and Thrash. I found some of that on PREVAIL but what I noticed almost immeadiately was that I could understand the vocals and there is a real sense of melody. Maurizio Iacono’s vocals are harsh and range from gut-wrenching growls to a higher scream but the main thing is that I could understand every word. One of the things that turns me off to Death, and even Black Metal, is that I can’t understand what the hell any one is saying! It doesn’t matter to me if the music is high quality, if I can’t understand what the singer is singing, it throws off my enjoyment.
Most of the actual music sounds more like Traditional or Power Metal than regular Death although there are times where the Thrash/drum blastbeat foundation is featured. I listened very closely to the album but when I got to track 7, ‘Breathe To Dominate’, I realized that there was more here than just my pre-conception of what Kataklysm was about. The chorus of ‘Breathe To Dominate’ is, for lack of a better word, catchy…..I found myself singing along to the chorus almost immeadiately so I went back and restarted the album to seek out the other melodic hooks in the rest of the songs. I think that because the music has a balance between Thrash and Traditional Metal, there is more room for the band to explore different styles than be caught within a certain set of rules. Now this sense of melody doesn’t mean that Kataklysm has become less heavy, they are a very intense and brutal sounding band. There are miles of crushing guitar riffs and blistering solos and the bass and drums sound powerful and huge keeping in line with the band’s self description of their music as “Northern Hyperblast”. Take a close listen to the ending track, ‘The Last Effort’, an instrumental that shows Kataklysm’s heaviness and their melodic sensibilities, a perfect blend.
I have listened to a lot of music that’s been released this year, everything from Hard Rock to Metal to AOR and now to Death Metal. Of all the new releases I’ve heard this year, PREVAIL is one of the albums that has received more spins than most. I honestly expected not to like this record because Death Metal is not my usual Metal but what I discovered is that this melodic hybrid of Death is starting to become part of my usual Metal. Kataklysm has opened my ears to a solid album and a genre of Metal I’ve been neglecting.
Favorite songs: ‘Breathe To Dominate’, ‘Prevail’, ‘Taking The World By Storm’, ‘Blood In Heaven’