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I've tried hard to love this band. I really have. I remember the first time I heard them - "The Ambassador of Pain", I think the track was - and I was blown away. Such sheer force, insanely fast drums, heavy riffage, brutal vocals. But the more I listened, the more I realised that there was absolutely no substance behind this band. Literally every single one of their songs is interchangeable. Each goes through a cycle: Brutal chugging riff, tremeloed "hyperblast" riff, melodic lead, repeat. Although sometimes the order is switched around, that's really all there is to it.
So it is with In the Arms of Devastation, their latest work. I can really notice very little discernable difference between this album and their last few, other than that they may actually have mellowed out a tad in places (although the ridiculous loudness of the production nullifies this). A noteable improvement on this album, on the other hand, is the introduction of a (very) few solos; when they are implemented, they are done so rather well, which leaves me thinking that it's a shame they didn't include a few more throughout the album - it would have improved it quite markedly.
Now for a bit of personal beef: the aforementioned production. It's very trendy in modern death/deathcore/metalcore releases to have this absurdly loud, crisp unrealistic production that frankly, I think, sounds like shit. When you buy a rock album, you want to hear the band, not a band stripped of all life after the mixing process. Later Kataklysm releases are prime examples of the problem; this album is so crisp, clinical and LOUD that it genuinely ended up hurting my brain after a while. I hate what modern metal production has become (I'm looking at you Andy Sneap and pals) and I can only just hope there's a resurgence in a more ballsy, less fake trend of production.
There is not really much else to say about In the Ams of Devastation. If you love Kataklysm, your opinion of them won't change one jot after listening, and if you hate them, the same applies. As someone who has listened to all of their releases, liked a few but loved none, my opinion of the band too hasn't really changed. I find listening to this album (and their others) in its entirety a deeply dull experience, but the tracks taken individually are not particularly horrid, I suppose.
All I can say is that if this band mixed it up a bit, and deviated from their tired formula, I think they do have it in them to create a great record, but this certainly isn't it. And for fucks sake, make it less loud.