KATAKLYSM - Meditations
July 7, 2018, 12 days ago
Few bands in heavy metal have teetered on quite as many edges as Montreal’s Kataklysm. Not quite death-metaly enough for the tried and true diehards, not melodic or mainstream enough to cross over to those seeking more catchy melodies, the Canadian metal legends are truly an outlier in every sense of the word. Perhaps that explains their cult following that has carried on some 27 years. Regardless of what magic formula has resulted in longevity and fan adoration, Kataklysm are still here and still fucking awesome, and they’re embracing their status as an outsider of the metal landscape with their thirteenth studio album, Meditations.
Still sticking with their longtime home and label Nuclear Blast, we pretty well have a run of the mill knowledge of what we’re going to get from frontman Maurizio Iacono and co. Pulverization of the senses is a good way to put it, albeit it with a style and substance you can sink your teeth into. If you’re a fan of 2016’s Juno winner for Heavy Metal Album of the Year Of Ghosts and Gods, Meditations is basically a juiced up extension of those ideas. Don’t fix what isn’t broken right? Especially when some of your biggest career successes are landing near the three decade mark. Kicking off with the frenzied “Guillotine”, Meditations refuses to let up through 10 tracks that represent the band at their most potent. Followup track “Outsider” underscores the bands status as an anomaly of the metal landscape, showcasing a hybrid of styles with thick grooves to supplement founding member Jean-François Dagenais sublime guitar-work.
At a lean 36 minutes, Meditations doesn’t sacrifice quality for quantity There isn’t filler here – the drum driven “The Last Breath I’ll Take Is Yours” pairs perfectly in contrast with the subdued tension of the angst-riddled “Narcissist”, and the straight death metal deep-cut “In Limbic Resonance”.
At 13 albums and over 25 years clocked, Kataklysm aren’t reinventing the wheel with Meditations, and nor should they. They’re consistent with their punishing marriage of death metal and melodic elements, with sophisticated songwriting and arrangements that defy genre-norms.