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Ruined by cheering humans. - 50%

bitterman, July 21st, 2014

With Northern Hyperblast Live, Kataklysm exist on their own mystical plane of existence. Blurring the lines between the stupidly obvious and genius, Kataklysm is much like everyday life: what appears to be orderly and functional quickly devolves into car accidents and traffic jams. On this live recording, their limited tool set of rock derived power chord progressions (grindcore tempo segments) and tremolo picked heavy metal/speed metal riffs are bolstered by non-linear narratives: structures to these songs are rendered from the chaos of their own concepts, achieving logical completion through instinct and not a preexisting format to put forth ideas. While to the outside ear, much of this seems incomprehensible or stupidly simple with it's abrupt and forceful rhythms, Kataklysm have the uncanny ability to mold from obvious elements a narrative of mysticism and barbarity - the very essence of human being.

Vocalist Sylvain Houde gives a theatrical vocal performance which relentlessly pushes these songs to the extreme. Simple melodies of dreamlike elegance, familiar yet surging with power, are crushed by the weight of bone headed simplicity of barbaric power chords. Like a deer being at one with it's immediate environment only to have a Komodo dragon run up to it and bite it on the leg - unaware of the venom, the deer escapes with haste, resuming it's course only to succumb to the poisonous bite, setting the stage for waves upon waves of Komodo dragons to appear and, in an orgiastic devouring frenzy, consume the now decomposing shell - the cycle of life embedded into music. Kataklysm is the sound of the lions, the screams, the corgis, the hurricanes... Through a rage driven by schizophrenia (vocalist), Kataklysm paint pictures of the horror and beauty found in all that life encompasses, bringing to the forefront the simple, mundane truths we deny - an all encompassing force crushing any notion of anthropocentrism in it's wake.

While better than the studio albums for aesthetically unifying the chaos of their concept with the music itself (to some this seems off-time, but it's an artistic device - a byproduct of humans being almost... too human), outside factors detract from the experience. When viewing this as an art object, the liner notes paint a picture of normal guys who muse on the everyday mundane affairs, thanking their lowly fans "for years of endless support". The fashion sense of the band (with the exception of the vocalist) seems like a grim foretelling of the wigger sound they would later adopt (bassist Maurizio already in his "FUBU hat and whey protein" phase). In addition to this, a stadium rock chanting of the band's name brings this album down from it's otherworldly nature (should have been replaced with screaming, wind, and explosions). Finally, the two bonus tracks from the weak Vision the Chaos release shows an absurdly grooved out style that detracts from the best of nature of the live performance: none of the floundering tracks filled with uncertainty, only the strongest tracks from their discography in their most powerful form yet. Unfortunately, this makes it great only to a point, as the listening experience is ruined by Pavlovian crap like cheering and the nature of the concept weakened by prominent "thank you" garbage in the liner notes (no doubt a decision made without the presence of Sylvain Houde - the mastermind behind this band's original concept). For the band's performance alone, however, I champion this display of undeterred... humanity - a rare find in a world where life and culture have been poisoned by the ideals of modernism.

Northern Hyper Blast live - 4%

dyingseraph84, July 8th, 2011

I love early Kataklysm, I really do so you can imagine my excitement when I found this in a used bin at my local record store. I've had some big disappointments in my life but I'm not exaggerating when I say that my initial reaction to this piece of shit ranks in my top 10. There is no reason for this live album to exist, let me just get that statement out of the way before I start ranting.

I will start with the good points and there are only two. The set list was chosen well for this show and the Vision The Chaos E.P. Was tacked on to the end of my copy. Now to pick apart a band whose early output is revered by many is not an enjoyable thing, but when the band makes it this easy and let's you down this bad I have no remorse.

The vocals on this thing are atrocious. I love Sylvain in the studio but live he is fucking awful, I swear 90% of the time he is not saying anything. It sounds like he has a mouth full of food and is trying to sing the song while eating. Maurizio's back up vocals suck too, he does a half assed job of both playing and doing vocals. His bass is so over distorted that you literally cannot make out one note he's playing, it sounds like someone is farting into the microphone.

The drum triggers are annoying to say the least, the whole time there clicking away in the background. I am not impressed with Nick Miller's drum playing either, he sounds like he doesn't know what to play. The guitars have a lot of treble in the tone, I don't like it but Jean-Franquois actually plays pretty well so there are really 3 positive points.

The whole band sounds tired and like they don't give a shit how bad they sound. As a whole, if this was recorded underwater while a jet ski was circling overhead it may have turned out better. This bands early work is impressive and brutal, and to see them fail in the live situation is utterly tragic. Nothing is really recognizable song wise, the sound is so bad you won't be able to tell what they are trying to play.

If you love the new Kataklysm and never liked the early stuff do not waste your time, you will hate it even more. If you hate new Kataklysm and relish in the old sound then you will hate this too, so it's a lose lose situation. I gave this album a 4 because of the 3 good points and because I can put it in my cd player and it works, but other than that it is worthless.

Actually Made Me Not Want to See This Band Live - 12%

lord_ghengis, May 26th, 2008

I first heard this album when I was into Kataklysm, back when I would have sold a portion of my left kidney go see them in the flesh. Northern Hyperblast live is actually so bad that it made me not want to see them at all. Now, I'm not really much of fan of the band anymore, because I finally realised they don't have many good riffs, not even on the early albums, but I'll try write this to express how I felt when I heard this back then.

The bands first live album was released back when they had their original, far more insane vocalist Sylvain Houde, and also wrote faster, more aggressive songs, with less emphasis on grooves. Basically this is the final recording they made before changing their sound quite drastically with "Victims of This Fallen World". Unfortunately, the qualities of these albums aren't transferred to this live recording, which lacks power, coherency, and well, anything worth listening too really. The production of this release is sub-awful. You can't make out any of the instruments, apart from the solos which sound pretty awesome, the guitars and bass merge into single pulsing stream of monotone noise. The drums are quiet and again, have no real definition, which makes Nick Miller sound like a 10 year old boy with a drum kit consisting of three drums. You can't hear the toms or bass drums, and all the cymbals sound the same. And his snare, is clearly tuned to sound good while blasting, resulting in it sounding like an empty paint can when not using gravity blasts. Not to mention there's a couple of times where microphones screech and just hurt. When things get fast, such as "The Awakener" is where everything goes to hell. When they play that sort of stuff it becomes completely impossible to even guess what the riffs are like. Basically, this recording makes Krieg seem pristine.

Finally Sylvain's descent into random insanity finally becomes complete. His vocals on Sorcery were manageable, crazy, yet still under control, and were admittedly awesome, then on Temple of Knowledge he got quite a bit more retarded and became angered with the idea of sticking to the music and thus became borderline unlistenable. Now two years after that release, and while still singing songs in the same patterns as before, live he just sounds that little bit more out of his mind. Sometimes due to the little parts that he adds in here and there, all in French though, and sometimes just because his high speed garble is just so wild and schizophrenic when performed live. He's so insane sounding that it appears as if he's now so crazy that he believes that aliens are after him, and he's trying to scare them by sounding like a pack of dogs. Not just one dog, but like 12 dogs. All if them foaming at the mouths, all of them attacking their own limbs in a frenzied panic. Add in that the production leaves his growls sounding like they were recording inside a grain silo and it's fairly irritating. However, the high vocals are surprisingly well executed (not by Sylvian all of the time, due to the fact he could not be expected to multi track by himself, but I'm unsure who does them), although the bad production mauls them again. There are some exceptions to the good high vocals, for instance about half way through "Point of Evanescence" is one of the funniest noises you will ever hear anybody ever make.

As for how the performances are, It's hard to tell, the guitars lack the definition to hear if they're playing well, and since you can only discern one cymbal and the snare of the drums, it's hard to see how that fares too. However, you can pick up that the gravity blasts are often quite sloppy sounding, however, this could just because you lack some of the context of the other drums.

Now, the only good thing that comes of this is the track listing, which consists of stuff only from their early material, considered by many to be their only worthwhile output. Of course it all sounds like the same annoying blur the whole time. Now as I said, since I've grown away from the band, I've began to feel that even the early stuff didn't have overly impressive riffs either, just more energy. So to me, this isn't even a bonus, because it's just stupid vocals over boring music, instead of boring vocals over boring music. Either way, even if you love the content that this album revolves around, don't get this, when I was a huge fan, I still hated this, and chances are you will too.