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I don't see why this album gets suck poor reviews - 75%

Sinister Intents, January 14th, 2015

Back in late August 2010 was my first taste of the band Kataklysm with the album Heaven's Venom. I remember hearing the track Push the Venom and being floored by how heavy and crushing it was compared to the deathcore acts I was listening to at the time. I was in high school at the time and I had an intense passion for heavy and brutal music, and this passion only grew stronger once I heard that track on the television. By chance I found this album Hot Topic and I got extremely excited to hear the rest of the album and how it compared to the track they would play on that channel. Now this being my first time listening to an actual death metal album in full besides deathcore, I wasn't sure what to expect, I was expecting breakdowns and inhales. I got greeted with a completely different album that what I was used to and immediately fell in love and wanted to listen to more.

Having heard a lot more of Kataklysm since I first listened to this album, the first thing I can say is that they have kept almost exactly the same sound as when Maurizio became vocalist. They fall into the trap AC/DC has fallen into with all of the tracks utilizing the same kinds of scales and progressions and preceding releases. While this may seem detrimental to the band, it actually isn't, it just shows they've maintained a very consistent sound with the guitar work, the bass, and the vocals. From what I've noticed Kataklysm also seems to have a habit of changing drummers every album, and they seem to have a good drummer this time around. Though the drum work on this album is very different from previous albums. It's actually a lot better than previous albums with the drum work. The drumming on Heaven's Venom is a lot more technical than Prevail, and doesn't sound like the same three blast patterns and filler like on Serenity In Fire. Despite the fact that the drummer is better than the previous releases, there is still a dullness to the drum work which arises from the constant blast beating and uninspired filler like on the tracks A Soulless God and Suicide River.

The guitar work is pretty standard to the Kataklysm sound here, much like their previous three releases, but holds onto a lot more of a melodic sound than the previous releases, and shows that the band is becoming more melodic death oriented than what they were in the past. We still get a lot of groove and thrash orientation with crunchy, almost vacuum cleaner sounding power chord riffs, but Kataklysm yields a heavier thrash sound like on Hail the Renegade and As the Walls Collapse. This album also contains some of their best riffs ever, all through out the album we can here originality tinged with their classic sound. Every track contains some something that makes it completely unique with melodic riffs that will certainly get stuck in ones head. A great example of this is Hail the Renegade, A Soulless God, and As the Walls Collapse which also contain the bands best and most melodic solos. They don't sound derivative at all, they're extremely original, especially the bass solo on Hail the Renegade. There is also a lot of tremolo picked riffing on this album, which at times doesn't sound very inspired, and they're actually very simplistic riffs, but they tend to fall flat and just appear to be filler. Stephane Barbe plays some very strong bass riffs on this album, his work is very audible and keeps the sound heavy and consistent. The bass however isn't very technical, he follows what Degenais is doing in a less complex fashion. The highlight of his bass work is in fact the solo performed mid way through Hail the Renegade.

Maurizio's vocal work is exactly the same on this album as every album he has performed since he became the band's vocalist. He performs low growls most of the time with almost entirely the same tone through out. He's actually quite monotonous with his mid-low ranged growls, and this even holds true with his screams which actually sound significantly better than the previous few albums. Despite the vocals being a bit lacking in what they could have been, and not sounding very threatening, they're very intelligible. The lyrical work combined with the vocals is very well done, they maintain the same themes as previous works, but their originality and composition keeps them quite enjoyable throughout this album.

The whole album is rather solid and should be satisfactory to most listeners even with its noticeable flaws. Any fan of the more popular death metal acts like Hypocrisy, Deicide, Amon Amarth, and so on should find this rather enjoyable. If you're looking for something technical and new, you're not going to be elated with this album. When you listen to Heaven Venom you're really listening to a throwback album because it stays very consistent with previous works that this band has done. It may not be as crazy as the bands demos and first album, but it is certainly is one of their better albums to date and highlights a positive direction the band is going in.