KATAKLYSM anno 2004 devastates in the form of Maurizio Iacono (vocals), J-F Dagenais (guitars), Stephane Barbe (bass) and a fucking machine on the drums!!!!!!! The band took the world by force with “Shadows And Dust”; all over the globe the media turned their violent moniker into a blazing star, this has obviously affected the band and inspired them to work harder and multiplying their productivity of touring and writing new songs.
Does “Serenity In Fire” push the limits? My answer would be yes and no. KATAKLYSM are still on home ground (Death Metal), nothing big has changed except they’ve gotten heavier and deadlier. You won’t be bored that’s for sure. Despite the scarce traces of originality their style does not sound old-fashioned; the band meshes U.S. brutality with Swedish melody and some of that Canadian substance I call technicality, so it’s not a tedious sound we’re dealing with here.
KATAKLYSM stay beefy and brutal but also use melodic passages when needed. “Serenity In Fire” has the faithful ingredients of a good Death Metal album but with a bonus in the package; the band has written some shorter tracks (“Blood On The Swans”, “The Ambassador Of Pain”, “10 Seconds From The End” and “As I Slither”) that unleash a new found brutality which totally justifies the cataclysmic detonations one could expect to hear from the band.
Guitar riffs don’t come much sharper than this, I can tell that some of them smell of re-use; weird, I could’ve sworn I heard some identical riffs on ”Shadows And Dust”. Black Metal influences are heard more than ever on “Serenity In Fire”. “For All Our Sins” starts with a DARKTHRONE like riff played at hyperspeed and has Peter Tågtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN and now BLOODBATH) doing some very evil vocal work in the chorus, a track that really points out the frightening level of brutality this band is able to create. “The Night They Returned” has more of this evil riffing that all of a sudden has made its way into the bands already brutal sound.
The only original trademark I can hear is the perfected hyperblasts and overall dexterous handling of new drummer Martin Maurias, I can’t think of any drummer that comes close in being this tight in execution, (the CD is not scratched I checked) unbelievable performance. Maurizio Iacono delivers some venomous Death Metal growling but his high-pitched screaming is dry and rather pathetic, they started to get poor on “Shadows And Dust”, so I hoped that he would re-approach his style because he just doesn’t have the power anymore to do that kind of vocals.
You won’t be disappointed with the sound production, very heavy and demolishing with a rougher edge than on “Shadows And Dust” that fits better with their extreme sound, I especially love the clear drum sound.
Some journalists have accused the band of doing the same album over and over again, I’m not the one to tell if this is true or false (never heard their older works) but I do believe the transition from “Epic (The Poetry Of War)” to “Serenity In Fire” is built on progression while remaining truthful to the sound they love. If “Shadows And Dust” was a hit for you “Serenity In Fire” should become a pleasant surprise. (Online April 12, 2004)