Whenever Maurizio Iacono opens his mouth he sounds like his lungs are made of fire. After seventeen years fronting Kataklysm he still screams and growls as if clouds of ash are flying out of his throat and he makes an absolutely furious vocalist. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the scorched-earth death metal his bandmates create, even if it will be a bit familiar to long time devotees of these “Northern Hyperblast” headbangers.
‘Of Ghosts And Gods’ is their twelfth album and while not a game changer, is sure to satisfy their sizeable fan base and hopefully convert a few newcomers as well. After so long in the game, the Canadian four piece have settled into a comfortable niche as the middle ground between the melodic sensibilities of In Flames and the raw pummelling of Cannibal Corpse. There’s not many surprises to be had, just nicely reliable death metal that manages to be tuneful and catchy without a single keyboard in sight.
The opening ‘Breaching The Asylum’ for instance has an introductory riff that Matt Heafy would kill for, before rapidly escalating into a maelstrom of headbanging malevolence. It’s an impressive start, but Kataklysm really pull the cat out of the corpse with ‘Black Sheep,’ a notable early highlight. Riding into town on a neck-wrecking breakdown, it packs a mean chorus, some excellent guitar work and is a classic death metal song. It’s unpretentious, brutal and catchy all at once, small wonder they released it early as a taster for the album.
There’s plenty more to savour here, with the mournful thrashing of ‘Marching Through Graveyards’ fighting for the best track award against the bruising ‘Carrying Crosses’ and the terrific ‘The World Is A Dying Insect.’ Aside from the space-filling ‘Hate Spirit,’ pretty much everything could slot into the live setlist and their understanding of dynamics also works in their favour, even if there’s not much variation in the overall mood.
As a collection of bang-head-constantly tunes then Kataklysm have done it. Having spent years working as one of the more underrated metal acts out there, they’re a testimony to how hard work and constant touring pays off. It’s up for debate as to which is better, this or 2013’s equally pulverising ‘Waiting For The End To Come,’ but lovers of all that’s tr00 will find little to complain about.
As a collection of bang-head-constantly tunes then Kataklysm have done it. Having spent years working as one of the more underrated metal acts out there, they’re a testimony to how hard work and constant touring pays off.