Originally written by Dan Staige.
I’ve bobbed my head to Kataklysm for quite awhile now, since The Prophecy (Stigmata of the Immaculate) to be exact. But for some reason, I never really took them too seriously for several reasons. Firstly, I checked out their early material and trust me when I say it’s a little rough. So I thought Stigmata was possibly their high point; a culmination and tightening of their material and style. Secondly, their production went off in a very strange direction w/ Poetry of War. No matter how much I crank the knobs, I can’t get that disc to sound anywhere near as good as Stigmata. The kick drum is mixed way too high. So I thought that they may have hung on to their newfound heaviness but they fucked up the prod. Well, then Shadows and Dust rolls around and by this time it is clearly evident that they can still write good fucking songs that maintain the heaviness displayed on Stigmata, and Shadows and Dust straightened out the prod pretty well, but it still sounded a little compressed to me……like it was being played under a sheet of ice. I wasn’t getting that amazing clarity that I did out of Stigmata.
Well now, as Serenity in Fire has arrived quite quickly as the successor to Shadows and Dust, I’m thoroughly convinced that these hyperblasting goons have got their sound down and under control, and have quite possibly established a sound of their own, as I cannot name any groups off hand that have this exact sound. My first listen went like this: The disc started, and inevitably ended. I then proceeded to crawl out of the 6 foot vertical grave the drumming on this album pounded me into. Tossing dirt and earthworms aside, I coughed out balls of soil in an attempt to regain my sense of balance. Oh the hyperblast is back my friends, and it is quicker and slicker than greased lightning. Examples are as follows: “Ressurected”-intro, 1 minute mark. “Blood on the Swans”-intro. “10 Seconds From The End”- 1:36. It sounds like a blast beat on ‘roids. If it genuinely is a blast beat, than I’ve never heard any faster. If the snare is hit w/ both hands I can see how it could be achieved, but there’s also cymbals crashing and it seems that the kick is being hit double as well so technically that leaves no limbs for hitting the high hat. I’m not a drummer but I do know the basics of concocting a blast beat and this beat Kataklysm has goes beyond pretty much anything I’ve heard. And it’s flawless. Kataklysm focuses on unbridled guitar chunk and obesity w/ absolute crushers like “As I Slither”, “The Ressurected”, and “The Night They Returned”, which is a mighty damn heavy song that gives you no choice but to snap your own neck! A couple of cool surprises are “For All Our Sins” & “Under the Bleeding Sun”, which start out as black metal blasts. Fear not, they eventually give way to chunky bruising riffs, dashed w/ slight melody. Melody in moderation is the key, and it appears as if Kataklysm abides by this theory, being careful not to lose sight of bone crushing riffs that induce violent cranial projectile seizures, thus avoiding the dreaded feminization that many bands these days seem to have fallen victim to.
This band is dedicated to their brand of metal, and has now delivered consistently in some way, shape, or form since Stigmata. I’d say they are the flagship of their sub-genre or whatever but they’re really the only group who does this sound so who do I have to compare them to? Nobody really. Every song is distinct and memorable on Serenity In Fire and these hyperblast beats and chunk-as-fuck guitar riffs show that these guys aren’t going to be swaying off in some experimental “forest-metal” phase anytime soon. They’ve got testikills and they obviously want to keep them, and they know what metal should be about. Support this band and buy this album immediately!