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Kataklysm: Epic (the poetry of war)

29/05/08  ||  Daemonomania

Kataklysm has had an atypical career arc. Try saying that five times fast. Most bands start out great, lose ideas, and eventually take the midnight train to Suckballs Town. The rest of them take the morning train from Babybatter County and start having good ideas, soon becoming quite awesome. I’m sure your metallic brain is already coming up with hundreds of bands that fall into either category.

On a side note, isn’t it amazing how much information metalheads have stored up concerning their genre of choice? Much like sports fans, we can remember all sorts of obscure shit like lineup changes, label changes, release years, song lyrics, subgenre categorizations, etc. ad infinitum. If they ever make Metal Jeopardy, the competition will be fierce. Next time someone tells you metal is stupid, first kill that person, then, standing on their bleeding body, shout a list of the many musicians used to round out Incantation’s live shows. That’ll show ‘em.

Back to the lecture at hand. Kataklysm differs from the norm in that their first few albums were goddamn terrible (no matter what anybody says), then they started adding some more accessible aspects to their sound and became quite decent for a few albums, finally overdoing it with the accessibility and pumping out some turds in recent years. The pretto virus-infected title “Epic: the poetry of war” is from their ever so brief decent period.

The Canadian bacon blasters are in fine form on “Epic”, mixing death metal brutality, black metal melody, and a whole lotta relentless drumming to flesh out what appears to be half a concept album. Really, they tried to write lyrics about ancient Rome and gave up about halfway through. Good job, ye barking starfishes. Augustus Caesar would crucify you for your insolence. They even have a song on here about how hard it is to be Kataklysm entitled, “What we endure”. Oh, how our hearts bleed for the obviously well-fed Maurizio Iacono. Not that I’m a wrestling fan, but he sure does look a lot like a miniature version of that “Big Show” guy.

Back on topic once again. “Era of the merciless: Romano cheese part I” is the start of some real winners on here, but overall the whole disc can be consumed without making use of the skip button. I absolutely love the much maligned “Manipulator of souls,” if only for the goofy Gremlin voice intro and the Hellraiser sample. The songwriting overall has matured quite a bit, in that Kittyjizzum knows when the listener has had enough blasting, and needs a slow chunky part or some melody. Unlike their earlier albums, where the listener was granted absolutely NO respite from the almighty hyperblast.

We all know Mr. Duhamel is quite the skinbeater – and we mean that in the nicest way possible. As for the rest of the gang, “Too Many Crepes” Iacono has a somewhat weak and wet rasp, but nice lower growls. And the Jean-Francois Van Damme has not yet fallen into the trap of recycling every single riff known to metal, quite often kicking a whole lot of ass in an epic manner. Production wise, Duhamel is pushed up front a bit too much for my taste in the blasting sections. My home stereo system, which is on its last legs, simply erupts into a bunch of fuzz and crackles every time the baconblast takes place, so until I upgrade large portions of “Epic” sound like shit. Not Crepeaklysm’s fault, however. Did I forget about the bass? So did they, pretty much.

So if you’re new to these non-hockey playing Canucks, pick up the better “Shadows and dust” first, “Epic” second, and ignore everything else unless you’ve got a penchant for bleeding eardrums or rehashed riffery. Such is the kareer of Kataklysm. Korn. Fukk. Bizkit. Krayzie Bone.

7 intentionally misplaced K’s out of 10.

  • Information
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Website: www.kataklysmrocks.com
  • Band
  • Maurizio Iacono: vocals
  • Stéphane Barbe: bass
  • Max Duhamel: drums
  • Jean-François Dagenais: guitars
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Il Diavolo in Me
  • 02. Damnation is Here
  • 03. Era of the Mercyless, Roma: Part 1
  • 04. As the Glorious Weep, Roma: Part 2
  • 05. Shivers of a New World
  • 06. Manipulator of Souls
  • 07. Wounds
  • 08. What We Endure (cry me a river)
  • 09. When Time Stands Still