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Waiter, there's a lesbian in my soup. - 44%

betweentheeyes, May 28th, 2008

...And she’s singing better than Maurizio. So what the fuck has happened to Kataklysm lately? I won’t even discuss the Kataklysm releases when Sylvain was still the vocalist. Let’s look more forward to the last few releases. Shadows and Dust was just fucking heavy, and varied. It had solos. It was something I could put in my cd player and let it repeat over and over again. Then we moved on to Serenity in Fire. You could feel the pendulum swinging towards much more mainstream appeal. However, at least this cd had catchy songs. It lost some of the song structure and aggression, but at least I could just nod along silently to it while I was coming down off some sort of illicit drug experience.

Which brings us to this most recent release of “In the Arms of Devastation”. Did Kataklysm get infected by modern day Cryptopsy? I am fucking indignant. The only redeeming quality I can find on this cd is that it doesn’t veer too far from what Kataklysm has been doing, except that it is indeed recycled and not even on the same quality level as previous efforts. At least I don’t hear the clicking of the drums or the movement of the guitarists hands as they go to fret the next chord in this cd. That was always bit annoying. But I could get over that because the music was GOOD.

It’s hard to describe the individual songs on this particular cd. If you’ve heard either of the last two cds, you’ve heard these songs. Kataklysm continues to strip down the songs; you’ll find no 7-9 minute epics here. You’ll find few solos, hardly any memorable ones. The memorable choruses from Kataklysm’s catalogue are not to be found on here. You won’t be screaming “XUL!” or “I crush all those who oppose!”. And like other reviewers have already said, where is the brutal onslaught of drums? Did the drummer take 4 xanax before he started recording?

For some reason the standout track in my mind is “In Words of Desperation”, which has sort of a slow plodding heaviness you might think similar to Amon Amarth’s material. I’m no music major, but I think there’s some kind of minor scale play in this song that is appealing. The other tracks are fairly forgettable to me - they are what you’ve already heard. How can Kataklysm expect us to swallow this pill? If you’re going to play the same shit as before, at least speed it up, make it more complex, do something. Bloodbath (Swe) knows how to evolve, why can’t you? Runner up is probably the last track, “The Road to Devastation”. The last couple tracks give some redeeming value to an otherwise bland music performance.

One other thing of note: The guest vocal appearance by Morgan Lander of Kittie that I eluded to at the beginning...actually not that bad. She’s got a harsh voice but it doesn’t sound exactly like a man (hello, Angela Gossow). She neither makes nor breaks the song.

Verdict: Do not buy this, go buy older Kataklysm. You can thank me later.

Same old Kataklysm - 50%

ratsalad, March 10th, 2008

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.

Not one I'll be going back to - 60%

Metal_Mongrel, January 22nd, 2008

Obligatory introduction: I must admit that this is my first ever taste of this band, so forgive me for not putting this release into any kind of historical context for the band whatsoever.

In Death Metal terms, this falls somewhere in the middle of the traditional Deicide/Morbid Angel vein I'm used to, and the openly Melodic Death bands. Think along the lines of Vader's The Beast Chugging along at mid-to-fast pace, but mostly mid. Plenty of blastbeating, along with more traditional drum patterns, accompany riffs that sometimes chug in brutal Death style; more often hanging back while retaining their heaviness. It's got a distinctly modern flavour to it, no sounds of Scream Bloody Gore or Seven Churches to be heard hear. Indeed, it sounds so modern that initial listenings reminded me generally of the 'screamo' bands you get knocking around these days. I'll not beat around the bush: not a good sign...

Kataklysm have avoided some of the potential pitfalls by avoiding elements that could weaken the sound of a Death Metal album. Not once does Maurizio Iacono slip into clean vocals, so no whiny voices here! Barring the intro to To Reign Again (which is so short, and unrelated to the rest of the song, that it merely comes across as throwaway material), the heavy riffage is kept up throughout the entire album. It's generally reminiscent of that kind of 'screamo' material, but it's all scream and no emo. Thank god.
The only problem in this regard is that the album as a whole feels I can see these songs working well in a live environment, where the adrenaline and alcohol can make Bruce Springsteen rock the nations like Slayer. In this case I think it just boils down to a case of personal preference. It's heavy, but safe heavy, as opposed to dirty and mean like...well, the albums I name-dropped earlier.

The album seems additionally safe considering all the material chugs along the three-to-four minute mark, with little to break it all up apart from the occasional lead guitar work and appearance from guest vocalist Morgan Lander (just what are Kittie up to these days anyway? I digress...). Again, I am grateful that Kataklysm did not decide to break things up and make themselves appear more 'open-minded'/ahead of the trends by including weak, mellow moments. But after a few listens, little sticks in apart from the odd grunted song title and the occasional riff. It'll make for an agreeable listening, but will it suck you back in for another?

Originally written for

It's "Devestating" that more bands can't like this - 90%

HexDemon666, February 21st, 2007

Alright, I was a bit skeptical when the sticker on the album said "The next best thing in Death Metal", but it didn't lie. "Like Angels Weeping (The Dark)" is probably the best song on the album, so it's no wonder they decided to put it at the number one spot.

The drumming is very fast and very tight with the guitars. The guitarists are very adept at making transitions from blisteringly fast shredding to slower, chunkier rhythm sections which gives a lot of character to the songs.

There isn't a lot to say about this album, really. It's done and it's done very well. It features everything you would ever want in a death metal band. Brutal vocals, distorted guitars, and spastic drumming.

One song of particular interest is "To Reign Again". It starts off with a clean, almost acoustic sounding intro. When you first listen, it's like "What is this? I thought I got Kataklysm, not John Mayer", but then all hell breaks loose. Noy only is this a good display of musicianship on behalf of the guitars (they can play something other than metal), but it really makes for an interesting guitars, especially when coupled with a few solo bass riffs in there. Easily one of the best songs on the album.

Another excellent song is "It Turns To Rust". This is a very bouncy, catchy song. I can definitely picture myself moshing and headbanging to it.

I have not heard any of Kataklysm's older stuff, but I've been desperately searching ever since hearing this album. Truly one of the best bands I've heard in a very long time and this album is all to blame.

Mature Devastation - 98%

costaricanfan, February 11th, 2007

The Canadian devastators are back with what seems to be their best disk to date. There’s a sense of freshness and renovation in the air. But don’t worry the old brutal spirit still remains strong. The production is flawless and the band achieved the sound that they where searching for. They handle the mixing to Tue Madsen , cause JF Dagenais produced and mixed the last 5 Kataklysm releases, so they wanted a new perspective.

Somehow this disk reminds me of “The Prophecy” the disk that redefined the way people saw Kataklysm. But at the same time I think that each Kataklysm production should be judged individually. Like different brothers in a family, “In the arms of Devastation” is the big brother. This new production is more mature, deep and intense and it features the right amount of ingredients to please every kind of Kataklysm fan. The brutality and the speed for the blast freaks, and technical virtuosity for the mature experienced ear.

There’s a technical improvement and my guess is that it has to do with the amount of time that this guys dedicate to the creation of this glorious masterpiece. In their previous efforts they didn’t have much time to play around and improved the songs. Now they have shown what they can accomplish.

This album delivers nine tracks of packet brutality. The first track “Like Angels Weeping” is just great musicianship well combined with tons of aggression. Mauricio’s vocal approach is stronger than ever. And in my opinion he has achieved a new level of excellence. The second track “Let Them Burn” is killer. Lots of melody put into it. But sick and twisted at the same time. You will hear some surprises on the vocals here. The dual vocal attack is better than ever.

“Crippled & broken” is the typical Kataklysm track. With an excellent mid-paced sound and a melodic background. The guitars sound clean and powerful. “Open Scars”, here again the guitars sound perfect and I mean that their sound really surpass what this guys have done before.

“To reign again” has a nice peaceful guitar intro ... and then all is unleashed . It’s a real mind mangler. With persistent ear piercing double bass. And clean cut riffs. Actually this is one of the best tracks in this record. And it will be a great track to hear it live. I can imagine the moshpit. “Temptations nest” it’s a track with great lyrics, some guitar surprises and a brutal vocal performance by Mauricio.

The track “It turns to Rust” is just vocal galore. It’s the track where Mauricio and Morgan Lander destroy everything. It just brutal!. This song will proove wrong all who opposed Kataklysm’s decision to have Morgan Lander as guest vocals. The combination of their voices is just amazing. The song is melodic and pretty rhythmical.

The mid-paced passed track. " The Road to Devastation” it’s slow but it pounds your head like a machine. Different vocal styles meet here to delight the listener. This disk is a must for all extreme metal fans out there. Kataklysm has created the road to devastation. All we have to do now it’s to follow it…

A step forward for the band - 92%

Curious_dead, October 3rd, 2006

“In the Arms of Devastation” is Kataklysm’s latest effort, an album of melodic death metal of pure raw power. Consisting of only nine tracks, this album is still a great addition to your collection, since not one minute of it is boring. This is undoubtedly one of the best 2006 albums, and thanks to it, I discovered this great band. I am now fond of both their older material as well as the new stuff.

The album is a perfect balance between raw power and melody – a melody conveyed only by the guitar, as there is no keyboard here. Even if the sound is softer than on older albums, fear not, as they have not become a commercial band, far from it. The first song is a great, catchy opener, just what you would expect to hear at the beginning of such an album. Violent drumming, and great riffs abound! And the production is really top quality.

The masterpiece of the album, “Let them burn”, is quite the catchiest song on the album. The awesome progressive intro is sure to draw you in. For having experienced it live, this is THE perfect headbanging/thrashing song. I’m warning you, while listening to it, say on the street on your iPod or discman, you might very well start headbanging!

The album is a nice collection of great riffs, and the drum, while not quite as violent as, say, Kataklysm’s previous CD, “Serenity and Fire”, is quite efficient. This is no album for your grandma ! The bass is, as usual, a subtle instrument, yet it is not silent. As for the vocals, Maurizio shows he has a great range.

The lyrics fill the bill nicely, not going into “the cheesy realm”. The songs are quite varied, though if you are familiar with older stuff, you might recognize some similarities. Even if each song has its own particular charm, there are still highlights on ItAoD: Like Angels Weeping (The Dark) for being a great opener, Let them Burn for the progressive intro, To Reign Again for its awesome guitar riffs, and The Road to devastation for its guests (Roth and Doherty from Into Eternity). Even the slowest songs demonstrate a great deal of “death metal-ity”, and showcase even more furious riffing.

This album represents an evolution for the band, and the direction it has taken Kataklysm is quite interesting. After hearing this, you’ll be sure to look forward to their next opus.

Monolithic........failure. Sylvain-less in Québec - 12%

Metaphysical_Anomaly, March 3rd, 2006

Yes, this is Kataklysm, a band I once hailed over many others. Yes, this is a 12%. And yes, I feel I'm wasting my time even giving this the dignity of a review. However, justice shall be served. Long has my heart yearned for the Sylvain Houde era-Kataklysm to once again reclaim their throne of glory as Canada's Hyperblasting Atmospheric Mysticism-oriented Grind beast once again. Sadly, this has and will not ever happen. A lament to the fall of the great ones.... all too late in the making, but this album just nailed the final nail in the proverbial "coffin of redemption" (hey that’s a good next album title for them, too bad I won't be purchasing it). 10 albums into my Kataklysm lust and this seasoned fan says no more...It's all well and good for children just getting into Kataklysm for the first time and finding a “wicked cool” riff set (borrowed primarily from the last two albums), but for a person who saw the masterpieces "The Mystical Gate of Reincarnation", "Sorcery", and "Temple of Knowledge" put into motion, well, my ears know better.

The "Hyperblasting" which first originated on the EP "The Mystical Gate of Reincarnation" has become all the more audible as it was on the last 2 albums. In The Arms of Devastation, if even at all possible, it's even more audible. And no, it is not a good thing to be audible when blended with riffs that focus entirely around giving opportunity for the drums to "blast-away". Also, something really fucking bothers me. Kataklysm has a few songs here that I know have been old news since "Shadows & Dust". "Serenity In Fire" made some tweaks here and there and managed to make an altogether average album. This album basically played 52 Pickup with as many riffs on "Shadows & Dust" and "Serenity In Fire" as physically possible. Maurizio's vocals haven't done anything for since "Prophecy", and until now, the guitar work performed by an extremely talented, yet underachieving, Jean-François Dagenais has kept me going. There's no reason for me to uphold this charade any *there I said it*.

Because a band was once extremely God-like, does not mean they will always be so. Fans who were around for Sylvain Houde's glorious reign as the first and only true vocalist and front man of the band, keep these words in mind.