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They're skilled, but that's about it - 60%

MikeyC, September 6th, 2008

This is the newest effort by death metal titans Kataklysm. Now, if you’ve heard their last effort In The Arms Of Devastation, and didn’t like it, then you may want to skip over this one, as everything about this album is basically the same as that one, in every way.

Having said that, this is probably the better of the two. It’s almost like Kataklysm recorded all the songs from here and their last album at the same time, and gave Prevail the better cuts. I use the term “better” loosely, though. The opening title track kicks off with speed and fury, and is one of the better tracks here. The closer instrumental is a nice way to finish the album.

The problem here is that everything else is not memorable enough. Occasionally there might be a riff or a section that will stick in your head momentarily, but nothing here has any lasting power. There is nothing about the album where you can think back and say, “that was a good song because of this or that.”

That’s not to say that the musicians here are bad or anything. The drummer is very tight, and knows his way around the kit. The guitarist can certainly play with precision and sharpness. The bass…well, you can hardly hear it, like on many other death metal albums, but he seems to be defined, just like the guitars. The vocalist is the obvious weak link of the band; he sounds very tired and needs to try some new techniques. He’s not the worst I’ve heard, not by a long shot, but he could be more diverse.

So the drummer is tight, the guitarist is precise and the bass is defined. And there-in lies the problem: it’s just so boring. At the commencement of each song, you’re hoping for something new and exciting. That partially occurs on “To The Thrones Of Sorrow”, but everywhere else, it doesn’t. But you’re not quite let down, either. It’s a situation where there’s nothing wrong here, and nothing is bad, but it’s just so by-the-numbers and technically fixed that you’re constantly praying for anything unexpected to come around, even if it means a mistake in the recording process. This is one great mediocre album, and while it’s better than their last effort, there is still much room for improvement.

Best tracks: Prevail, To The Throne Of Sorrow, The Last Effort

Another Catchy Album From Kataklysm (Yet Again) - 70%

Shirt_Guy, August 4th, 2008

In the world of death metal, you can get some bands who are downright reliable. Kataklysm has put an album out every 2 years since 1996 (and they also had extra albums out in 1995 and 2001), because of course in the world of indie/underground music, the 2 year tour/album cycle is practically standard.

Now if you’re new to Kataklysm, they like to keep the action pretty simple and catchy, from guitar riffs ‘n melodies, to the drums that are also simple in concept, although at times very high speed. Vocalist Maurizio Iacono likes to have a mix between high lows, low growls and a lot of harmonized screams

The catchiness is where the band shines the most, sort of like the equivalent of a loveable rock soundtrack, only in this case heavied up to death metal. There is of course a flip side, that being that Kataklysm has a lot of albums that are very similar to one another. They hold to some personal traditions very tightly, such as using short movie quotes just before the quick opener, and the long, slow, fading closing songs. In this case “The Last Effort (Renaissance II)” is an instrumental (a rarity for the band) which eventually moves to clean guitars and very melodic solo at the end.

As always, the band ups the ante on their formula, but only slightly. Those new to the band could easily do no wrong by getting their hands on “Prevail”, however those who have a few Kataklysm albums in their collection already might have a hard time justifying another Kataklysm effort when they sound so much alike.

Originally posted at

Pretty bad - 67%

FrostOfTheBlack, June 3rd, 2008

This album is a pretty big disappointment. Kataklysm is a good band, but they have fallen into the trap of producing groove-influenced death metal, which can be okay at times, but it should not make up the majority of their music. Shadows and Dust was probably their finest moment, but Serenity in Fire wasn't that bad either. Now, Prevail, is just utterly mediocre. There are only two memorable songs on here, "Blood in Heaven" and "To the Throne of Sorrow." "Blood in Heaven" is just decent, but nothing special. "To the Throne of Sorrow" is absolutely excellent, perhaps one of their best songs.

Aside from that however, there is nothing special about this album. The songwriting is uninspired. The guitar riffs are for the most part really bad. The production is lackluster, and the vocals are mediocre as well. The drumming is good as on every Kataklysm release, but that alone is not enough to make up for a bad album.

This isn't even good deathcore music. I am not a fan of deathcore, but at least I can differentiate between good and bad deathcore. And this is the bad. After giving this album an entire listen, you're only going to remember those two songs, and everything else will seem like a jumbled mess of bad riffs, mediocre song structures with heavy blast beats.

Recommendation: download "To The Throne of Sorrow," and skip this album. It's swimming in mediocrity. Go get Shadows and Dust instead.