Kataklysm have been death metal staples for almost a quarter century. Over time, their music has shifted to a more classic, thrashier version of death than on their earlier releases, but you won’t hear me complaining. And they have upped the ante on their newest, Of Ghosts and Gods. The songwriting and composition might be their best ever, and the production is flawless. They have clearly shifted into high gear here.
“Breaching the Asylum” opens up with a sound byte, then launches into a melodic, crushing riff. It has an At The Gates feel to it, as does the entire album. Maurizio Iacono‘s vocals are absolutely brutal on this perfect album opener. “The Black Sheep” opens with a short drum fill, then launches into a crunchy riff. The bridge and chorus are huge and immensely powerful. “Marching Through Graveyards” brings out everything that Kataklysm does well with ultra-fast breaks that carry you on a death-metal chariot straight to hell. “Thy Serpents Tongue” starts off with an intense riff and blast-beats, then launches into a thrashy feast for the ears. Once the vocals kick in, the song gets uber-heavy, forming the perfect storm of Kataklysm! “Vindication” is faster and even heavier, and the tradeoff between the bass and guitar is fucking cool. “Soul Destroyer” leans heavily on the vocals, although it includes a flurry of riffs and blast beats. “Carrying Crosses” is probably the most accessible song here; however, that doesn’t take away from the raw feel of the riffs and crushing melodies. “Shattered” is a bit slower, and is very dark with an evil overtone unlike any other song here. “Hate Spirit” brings you back to the blasts and razor-sharp riffs. You can’t help but headbang here. “The World is a Dying Insect” starts somber, ambient and dark. The combination of heaviness and melody contrast to create a perfect closing for the album.
Kataklysm have, for some unfathomable reason, slid under the radar of a lot of metalheads over the last 23 years. Of Ghosts and Gods is about to change that.
Of Ghosts and Gods is out July 31 on Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order it here!