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ITS SHADOWS AND DUST!!!!!... oops no it's not.. - 80%

The_Boss, November 4th, 2009

Kataklysm are arguably Canada's most popular and well known death metal band, with a long and winding career. Starting off their early days with a full blown "hyperblast" death metal, furious and unrelenting brutality then meandering into a fairly more commercial status of death metal with catchier tunes and then to a slower halt of creeping death metal with very few factors that harken to the old days of their beginnings.

Led now by Maurizio Iacono who originally played bass guitar on the first two albums, Kataklysm's fourth full length album The Prophecy lies somewhere in the middle of their material, which I typically classify as the strong listenable stuff and the forgettable stuff. In the Arms of Devastation was easily their weakest album, though even still managing to have a few killer songs (Crippled and Broken, anyone?), but after the strong Serenity in Fire it was completely forgettable. Though it's evident Serenity in Fire was a fairly big step from their previous material, it was still killer fucking death metal. The early days of Sorcery and Temple of Knowledge this was not, but The Prophecy is somewhere in between their best album, Shadows and Dust and the weaker of their best material.

The Prophecy contains some killer death metal riffs, plenty of riffs to fuck you up and demolish your core, with a few solos thrown in for good measure and an overall solid performance by Iacono on vocals; with a great production to top it off. The one thing that pushed me off their earlier material was the lacking of a decent production, but they seem to have conquered that and now have found a winning formula for the most part, though not so much with their most recent works. The Prophecy seems to have a decent resting place between their best material and the weaker stuff, when Kataklysm started running out of ideas and solid material to write.

Starting off with an audio clip as usual, 1999:6661:2000 rips through the air with crunchy riffs and a shredding attitude. Manifestation shows how Kataklysm can create a decent song, but still manage to lack any sort of memorability. This being their biggest problem with a lot of their material, it manages to still get you to nod your head and accept their are some decent riffs, but at the same time it doesn't stick with you or make you want to go crazy. Fortunately, Stormland fucks you up for doubting Katakylsm and their ways. Stormland is easily my favorite song by these guys and it makes me headbang furiously every single fucking time, the main riff that just commands your neck, commands you to throw the horns and just heabang in rhythm to the killer riff. Even better, showing Iacono on top form with some ridiculous screams and growls, proving he has his moments.

Throughout The Prophecy, it continues with a pattern of having a few decent songs that don't quite stick out as others, for example; Laments of Fear and Despair makes me headbang every time, but in the end I still can't hum the riff or think of any cool vocal lines, but following it Astral Empire manages to tear the fucking roof off and smush your cows. The slow dreadfully evil atmosphere compromised in Gateway to Extinction is just plain awesome, with a slow brooding and menacing riff that leads to some more decent shrieks by Iacono. After gaining some tempo and climaxing with insane blasting, showcasing Max Duhamel and his ability to blast the hell out of you. He's definitely in the top tier of death metal drummers in his prime, with ridiculously fast paced double bass and keeping on tempo with equally insane blast beats. The Renaissance closes the album off with it's 9 minute epic length; I was a bit hesitant and worried about how this would turn out if Kataklysm could pull off Nile and it's epic song length. It's not a terrible song, it has it's moments going for an overall atmospheric type thing with a slower vibe and an almost jazzy bass interlude, but continues with a somewhat weaker performance from Iacono, as if he's straining to belt out the lines, "We live and dieeee!".

In the end, this isn't Kataklysm's best album, but it contains some of their better material, with solid moments and some definite killer songs that stand out in their catalogue. While also having it's moments of amazing death metal, it also has it's lows, with some fairly dull and unmemorable songs that are just there not really doing much, though fortunately don't downright suck and hinder the overall album's flow. They are there, maybe a good listen for the time being but don't exactly stick out in your head as something that you will go back to. Iacono has his moments, though is far from the best death metal vocalist, he has his variety and range that takes some skill and allows him to be unique and memorable though. I'd definitely recommend this album to fans of death metal and people trying to get into Kataklysm, but only after they've heard the more consistent and solid material like Shadows and Dust.

Untold Propechy. - 55%

Perplexed_Sjel, September 17th, 2007

The main concern whenever I listen to a Kataklysm full-length is the vocals. On other respective full-length records they have been substandard and subpar. The Prophecy is no different. Again and again I hear that same constipated throaty scream coupled with the perhaps even poorer growled vocals. It detracts from the overall album, which in parts, is quite good. Catchy riffs and the odd special guitar solo make The Prophecy bearable. Other than the guitars, Kataklysm's saving grace, nothing much else stands out.

The drums are lost behind the wall of torturous screams which are bellowed out at the top of Maurizio Iacono's lungs. Thankfully the production is good enough for the listener to be able to hear each individual instrument when the vocals don't come into play, which isn't that often unfortunately. It's clear and well suited to the harsh and hostile wall of noise that Kataklysm aim to create and which they have successfully done so. The guitars are affective in enhancing the atmosphere on the music. There sound assertive, intrusive and sometimes dynamic. The sheer lack of solos is somewhat confusing as this is death metal we're listening to. It's rather unfortunate because this is where I feel Kataklysm would really shine through, but the guitarists don't seem to be given the freedom to often express their musical talents and are often restricted behind the excruciating vocals.

The only time the drums are truly affective is when the double bass comes into play. The drummer doesn't overuse any section of the drums, but does not under use them either. The snare, hi-hat and other parts each play there part individually when required to make a more subtly melodic aggressive sound. Kataklysm aren't particularly diverse or creative. They are by no means a leading band of the genre, they're steadily plodding along, which doesn't really suffice.

In order to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with, Kataklysm desperately need a competent vocalist. Unfortunately for the time being they do not have one. The lack of solos is simply unacceptable for a death metal outfit. The lack of flair is an issue which needs to be addressed. Astral Empire and The Renaissance are the shining lights on The Prophecy.

Falls Short of Excellence - 79%

Monstro_City, December 11th, 2004

The album completely pissed me off from the get-go. However, when their pathetic and unnecessary long intro was through, the album morphed into something more appropriately defined as stellar!

Kataklysm seems to have no end to their heaviness. They are capable of shattering the very earth upon which they stand with the potential to match the heavy qualities of Decapitated and perhaps even Nile. The heaviest The Prophecy becomes is best represented by tracks such as the opener 1999:6661:1999, as well as Stormland.

With those exceptions however, Kataklysm has an abundant melodic side to themselves. That shouldn't necessarily suggest that they are Melo-Death, even though their Vocalist could easily emulate the vocal qualities of the quintessencial Melo-Death singer. But, to continue, they are not in any way Melo-Death. They are far too heavy to be catagorized as such.

It has been mentioned previously that their Vocalist could emulate the texture of a Melo-Death vocalist, however, he could more easily be linked to a Black Metal Vocalist due to his voice is quite 'gurgly' for lack of a better word. This only occurs when he dicides to scream at all. Despite how annoying it may become after a certain period of time, he does not exclusively scream. The genre that the band is, demands a growl, and because of this the growling vocal element is the most predominent. And very well achieved.

The one major set back that The Prophecy has is the ignorant lack of Guitar solos. Kataklysm doesn't simply not solo, they just do not do it as often as any Death Metal band should. However, one could not blame them for such an angering missuse of their genre. When the Guitarist solos, it is not-unfortunately-very good. Nevertheless, the riffs are solid and unrelenting, which is actually quite impressive because even though there is a huge lack of diverse Guitar styles, the album does not wear out as fast as one would think.

Kataklysm's Percussionist is wonderful. He is everything a Deathy Metal group should have and more. His style is easily connected in similarity to that of Fear Factory's Ramond Herrara. However, the one main difference between them is the fact that Kataklysm's Drummer is even more relentless with the Doublekick, which justifies the aforementioned Heaviness. He doesn't do many fills, which links him to Fear Factory all the more, and is extremely precise. Excellent work.

The bassist for Kataklysm is not given any particular spotlight, therefore, I would be making things up if I were to describe him due to his omnipresence. So, to conclude, Kataklysm is an excellent band worthy of note amongst the major player Canadian Metal bands such as Cryptopsy and SYL. They do unfortunately fall short of being deemed revolutionary or God-like. But they are without a doubt the first to come to mind when you are in the mood for something Heavy. Head banging is imanent.