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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.