Kataklysm_Of Ghosts And GodsIn Quebec, a delicious golden ale called La Fin Du Monde has been brewed for over twenty years. It’s potent by regular beer standards, sitting at about 9% alcohol. The first time I tasted it I was with numerous smart people in a pub, and as soon as I took one sip I knew this would be a beer I’d have a long and happy drinking relationship with. Quebec has also seen the production of Kataklysm material for over two decades now, and my first time hearing them via Serenity in Fire’s “As I Slither” yielded similar results. It’s potent by melodic death metal standards, and by releasing quality records at a fairly consistent rate they’ve been a band that I’ve had a long and happy listening relationship with. Of Ghosts and Gods is Kataklysm’s twelfth full-length record, and I took the opportunity to delve into it and see if it sounds like a nice fresh bottle of La Fin Du Monde or one that’s been sitting out in the sun for too long.

While I’ve been listening to Kataklysm for about a decade now, I’ve honestly never bothered to think about what other bands they sound like before now. On Of Ghosts and Gods, the melodic leads sometimes recall the introspective nature of both Insomnium and Rapture, but instead of putting dead puppies under your Christmas tree Kataklysm put red meat, beer, and a set of dumbbells under there. This leads into a predictable comparison to Amon Amarth, who often use melody to portray bloody glories in battle. You’d be hard pressed to confuse the two due to Kataklysm’s overall heavier sound, but the similarity lies in the usage of less depressing melodies that evoke hard-fought victory instead of wallowing in existential despair. With the mixture of these two broad schools of melo-death in mind, Kataklysm’s music reflects to my ears an internal battle to better oneself in the face of odds that seem insurmountable. In other words, crushing riffs and excellent melodies are, as they have been for quite some time, the order of the day.

Of Ghosts and Gods sees Kataklysm playing what they’re good at while taking the odd step outside of their comfort zone. “Vindication” involves one such step, incorporating what sounds like a melo-death take on “Moonlight Sonata” alongside riffing that is at once fast, melodic, hooky, and heavy. “The World is a Dying Insect” comes across as a callback to “The Road to Devastation” in its somber leads, but the band improved the idea with more variety, better song structure, a more confident use of reserved atmospheric elements, and a great closing riff that’s melodic and triumphant but not cheesy at all. On the familiar side, “Carrying Crosses” uses the “hyperblast” drumming style to great effect beneath JF Dagenais’ signature melodic style, and “Breaching the Asylum” opens the record with a pummeling worthy of Shadows & Dust replete with a film clip in its introduction. Mariuzo Iacono’s vocals are as charismatic and powerful as fans are accustomed to, and his knack for memorable phrasing has been aging like fine wine.

Kataklysm_2015

While the misses here are both incredibly minor and very few in number, Of Ghosts and Gods does have its flaws. Though it’s a great song, “Marching Through Graveyards” dwells on pseudo-atmospheric noises needlessly for thirty seconds in its introduction, which comes across as gratuitous. While they don’t dip into deathcore, both “The Black Sheep” and “Hate Spirit” feature staccato riffs that sound a bit too close to breakdowns for comfort due to Oli Beaudoin’s kick drum being mostly in lockstep with Dagenais’ guitar and Stephane Barbe’s bass. “10 Seconds from the End” and “Like Angels Weeping (The Dark)” avoided this slight pitfall in the past, but this is a minor quibble and it does nothing to diminish Beaudoin’s fantastic performance throughout the record.

JF Dagenais handled production as per usual, and while a bit less compression on Beaudoin’s drums would’ve made his kicks hit harder, it’s a solid effort in line with Waiting for the End to Come and much like that record, Barbe’s bass is thick and always present. That Kataklysm has lasted over two decades as a band is impressive, but their biggest accomplishment lies in them continuing to make music that’s a worthwhile addition to the metal scene as a whole and wipes the floor with many of their melodic death metal peers. Much like a fresh bottle of La Fin Du Monde, I’m looking forward to cracking Of Ghosts and Gods open plenty more times this year and many after.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 272 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast
Websites: Kataklysm Official | Facebook.com/Kataklysm
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 07.31.2015

Share →
  • Grymm

    I love La Fin Du Monde (and its Granny Smith-heavy sister, Ephemere). Too bad something in both of them cause the extremely joyous feeling of a grenade exploding in my esophagus whenever I drink them.

    And it sounds like I should hop back on to the Kataklysm bandwagon.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Unibroue make some great beers, but, yes, the ABV is often high and they’re a bit pricey. Not everyday drinking beer for me. I guess I’m a simple Canadian man – Old Style Pilsner and Tim Horton’s for me.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        That stuff is ok. Tecate Light is better.

        • Celaeno

          *smh*

      • Grymm

        Nah, I drink high-alcohol beers just fine (Avery’s Samael FTW!), but it’s something that Unibroue puts in their beer that makes my esophagus want to explode.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          My esophagus usually does that when I drink homemade Slivovice. They served some at my Wedding that was almost literally liquid fire.

        • Dr? Gonzalo Salazar

          That must be the awesomeness.

        • sickbroski

          Something like Blonde or Brune d’Achouffe by RJ doesn’t have all the thick caramel stuff in it and hangs at about 8-8.5 %.

  • Kalsten

    I didn’t know that Amon Amarth had released a new album…

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Apparently they’re working on it. The only big news I’ve heard is that drummer Fredrik Andersson left the band.

      • Kalsten

        Nah. My comment was about that this song sounds 100% Amon Amarth :p

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Ah, gotcha. I’m a bit slow in the morning.

        • tomasjacobi

          Both Amon Amarth and Kataklysm are ripping off Ex Deo!

  • AndySynn

    I am a big, BIG fan of Kataklysm, and have been for… longer than I care to admit at this point… and really enjoy a lot of this album. But, like most of their records (all of their records?) it’s still a mix of killer and filler. And my enjoyment of a Kataklysm album tends to depend on the ratio between the two – which I’m happy to say is about 70:30 on this one.

    That being said, I’ve seen a few reviews popping up calling this a “masterpiece” and… just… no… I love these guys as much as anyone. But they are NOT a “masterpiece” band. Never have been. Never will be. And that’s ok. But it would be nice if certain sites (not this one!) would take a long hard look at themselves and say “maybe we’re overhyping this one”.

    Oh, and you forgot to compare Kataklysm to Hatebreed. Because they’re kind of the Death Metal version of Hatebreed. Only with more blastbeats and less homophobia.

    • Kronos

      Avoid hype? Nonsense, we’ve got pagviews and bottom lines to worry about.

      • AndySynn

        Shit, I’m really tempted to write a column about the… interesting… relationship between reviews/reviewers and bands/labels now. Though that might be biting the hand that feeds, and all that.

        Although I already used my “ethics in Death Metal journalism” joke for my last Monolith Deathcult review. Dammit.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          The connection between a certain big site and a band about waters of nothing falls under “interesting” here, if you know what I’m talking about (absolutely not NCS, to make that extra clear!).

          • AndySynn

            Ah, indeed (though that did take me a few minutes to work out… cut me some slack, I’ve been at work all day… and still am).

            But, I must admit… I LOVE that band. Lovelovelovelovelove.

          • Kronos

            Which site is this so I know who to make fun of (I don’t read other sites, as a rule)

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Vince at Metalsucks is Rivers of Nihil’s manager.

          • Kronos

            Dammit I kinda wanted a new site to hate.

        • Kronos

          I’ve never seen a Hand I din’t want to bite or a bridge I wouldn’t burn.
          Or a church, for that matter.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Masterpiece is overstating it for sure, I agree. That said, the more I listened the more my KtF ratio improved, and it got to the point where I couldn’t think of one track I would remove without missing it.

      • AndySynn

        I could think of a couple I’d drop. Though I can’t think of a single Kataklysm album where there’s not a song or two I could do without.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Even on Shadows & Dust? That one’s got an unfair amount of great riffs!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Love your site, Andy. The only frustrating thing is you guys cover so much stuff I sometimes sigh in despair at finding time to listen to it all : )

      I first heard of A Hill to Die Upon through NCS, as well as Hoth, whose Oathbreaker AMG also later reviewed.

      • AndySynn

        Ha, well thank you. I admit, we are pretty fantastic.

        AMG is alright I suppose. It’s why I hang out here.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Just “alright”??!! We are the bee’s knees! But yeah, I suppose NCS is ok. The bee’s ankles, perhaps.

          • AndySynn

            Do bees even HAVE knees?

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Bee-ing the Bee-tologist that I am, you better bee-lieve they have knees.

          • AndySynn

            You’re dead to me.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I get that a lot.

          • Kronos

            AMG is having trouble with CCD. Check back when we’ve removed the pesticides from our break room coffee.

      • JL

        if you think it’s a problem here you should try keeping up with NCS

  • Dr. Scorpion

    The embedded track seemed meh. Just meh.Meh.

  • Roquentin

    It’s Kataklysm. It has the same quality level of their other releases. It’s good. I dig it.

  • iain gleasure

    Are you into Quebec beers Diabolus? if so what is your opinion on St. Ambrose and Trois Pistoles? I’ve heard good things and want to know if their worth picking up at the LCBO.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Those two get a lot of good reviews online. I think St. Ambroise’s Oatmeal Stout is one of the highest-rated Canadian beers on ratebeer-dot-com. I’ve tried it, and it was good for the style, but I’m not personally a big fan of dark beers.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Trois Pistoles is dark and as potent as LFDM at 9% ABV. It’s my top dark ale, but I’m not a huge dark ale guy so take that as you will. Never got around to trying SA, so I’m no help there. To get either I have to drive across the city to a Beer Store so if I do that I always go for LFDM before TP these days. If you can find it at LCBO TP is worth trying, provided you can at least tolerate dark ale!

    • Dr? Gonzalo Salazar

      Don’t you get Unibroue taster packs in your communatzi province?
      Those are awesome: by the time you finish your second beer, you can’t remember which ones you already tasted and don’t see the difference between the others.

  • Wilhelm

    I never liked this band except when they played real death metal. This track sounds like a generic mix of new (boring) Dark Tranquillity and amon amarth with some blast beats thrown in. Drums also sound like shit.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Do you like them up to just before Temple of Knowledge then? Not being a prick, just curious.

      • Wilhelm

        I’ve never really been a fan of Kataklysm, their early stuff though was cool, crazy death metal (Mystical Gate through Temple and maybe a couple albums after that) at some point they just started playing it safe, not unlike many DM bands of the 90’s.

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      I’m totally with you on this one. I’m probably stepping on some toes here, but I think you could slap an unflattering -core suffix of some kind on this song right here: Melodic/melancholic intro, aggressive up-tempo verse, slightly catchy chorus, blastbeat midsection – and not even a very good one, it’s that kind of sloppy blast style some drummers have, if you know what I mean.

      As generic as it comes. As stated below, ‘meh’ is the word…

  • JL

    I can’t wait to hear this album. I have it but have not put it on yet. I did hear a single and it was fantastic. Nice review here.

  • Here’s Johnny

    Just wait for the NIle review, i bet 2.5/5 score on this site. Who is in?

    • Kronos

      AMG is doing nile, or so he says. Sometimes that means I’ll be doing it two days before release when he remembers that he has a ‘Real Job’

  • sir_c

    By any chance, did you accidently put in your beer rating to this review? In that case I’ll check my Untappd app to check the score for the review I just read.

  • needmorehops

    Nice review, and i fucking love me some La Fin Du Monde as well!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    This is vintage Kataklysm! Im expecting some “Taking the world by storm”s in here! And thats a good thing.

  • After seeing them lives last night I’m finally getting around to spinning this album and I’m loving it. They’ve become the ultimate meat n’ taters death metal act over the years and they certainly kill it live.