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Shadows and Dust/KATAKLYSM - 90%

Immortal666, April 24th, 2003

Canadian hyperblast masters Kataklysm return with an effort that has been touted to be their strongest to date. Ever since original singer Sylvain Houde left the band after their Temple of Knowledge album back in the late ‘90s, Kataklysm has been a different band. Their earlier efforts such as the aforementioned Temple… and Sorcery was described by critics as “the embodiment of chaos” with their hyperblast tempos and Houde’s similarly chaotic vocals which littered all over the band’s songs, at times sounding way out of place. Yet that was the charm of the old Kataklysm. When the singer bolted and bassist Maurizio Iacono assumed the vocal spot, the band veered into mundane hardcore territory with their first album sans Houde and was punished by fans and critics alike by reacting negatively to the ill-advised direction. Not to be deterred by the setback yet wise enough to be mindful of their mistake, Kataklysm started from scratch and went back to their death metal roots with their next two cds. Which brings us to their latest, Shadows and Dust. Comparing this latest album with their older material, one would probably think that it wasn’t the same band and that maybe entirely accurate. While three fourths of the band remain in the band from their early days, that would be the main factor in bridging the past and present Kataklysm. Musically, the band is making a much more comprehensible style of death metal than before. Song structures are simpler and catchier as the band latch on to an economy of riffs while the vocal parts are clearer as Maurizio has added a shrill black metal-ish rasp to his usual hardcore-ish death growls. The album revolves around the main theme of war and the cd booklet contains similarly war-tinged images to accompany the aural blitzkrieg. Kataklysm has made an album that’s catchy and heavy. It’s in heavy rotation in my player for many weeks now. If you’re tired of the monotonous beatings of the various Morbid Angel clones out there, let Kataklysm serve as your alternative. They deliver the goods with their brand of hyperblasting catchy death metal.