By Ola Mazzuca
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, it’s a very rough and mean place”. Ahhh, another classic movie quote sample brought to you by Montreal death vets Kataklysm. This is not the first time a memorable line has made an appearance, for the title track of their 2002 release, Shadows and Dust, commences with a quote from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Maurizio and Co took a different route from their chosen topic of ancient warriors to feed off of some Rocky Balboa wisdom. May you label it cheesy or cliché – this band never ceases to let go from their underlying message of gaining power from battle.
The whole struggle-to-gain concept is expressed throughout “Suicide River” and “Determined (Vows of Vengeance)” where the musicality of the record is solid and pummeling as always, bringing that hyberblast beat to a good level amongst long-time fans. With “Faith Made of Shrapnel” and “As the Wall Collapses” guitar work practically gleams with precise brutality.
One great aspect of the music of Kataklysm lies in its applicable lyrical content and fan connection by constant consideration of live performance. Tracks “Push The Venom” and “Hail The Renegade” have that moshpit-ready tone evoking imagery of successful stage presence with a responsive thrashing audience. It is important to decipher the differences between artists made for small-venue to large stadium shows or, on the contrary, zero desire to tour at all. Kataklysm have the power to conquer both arenas of live performance, may it be The Opera House or Wacken Open Air.
The mass metalhead audience either expects something entirely fresh or exactly the same, and when it comes to comparing earlier Kataklysm albums of the decade to Heaven’s Venom, content does not stand poles apart. In the end, the moral of Kataklysm’s story resolve in the fact that “it’s never about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” in the world of heavy music.