Kataklysm

Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows Review

Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows Review

“When you read “melodic death metal,” what do you think of? If your answer is “thrashy power metal with more chugging and harsh vocals” you’re not alone. I frequently avoid bands with the melo-death tag because that niche of the subgenre has a shallow well of inspiration and grows old quickly. Too often do I forget that Kataklysm is a melo-death band, and Sorcery is a melo-death record, likewise with At the GatesWith Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness. Both of these are the furthest thing from the cheesy version of melo-death. Thanks to The Nightmare of Being I’ve been on somewhat of a melo-death kick lately, which prompted me to take a chance on Canadian one-man band Dungeon Serpent and their debut record World of Sorrows.” Snakes in the Sorcery room.

Akiavel – Væ Victis Review

Akiavel – Væ Victis Review

If you’re about my age, you probably remember being a teenager and being rather surprised by Arch Enemy’s “Nemesis” video. For those unfamiliar, a speedy melo-death riff kicks the song off and we see a girl dressed like a Hot Topic version of Britney Spears in the “Oops, I Did it Again” video. She lets out a scream, and everyone watching goes “whoa, I can’t believe a girl can make those sounds!” The novelty wore off quickly despite my efforts to like the band because I liked Michael Amott’s work in Carcass. The Angela Gossow version Arch Enemy was inoffensively boring, and the band has since deteriorated into being offensively boring in the current Alissa White-Gluz iteration. The takeaway here is that Arch Enemy at their most popular is bland and uninspiring, and I’m lost as to who would take musical inspiration from that sound. Enter French death metal band Akiavel.” Archetypes.

Kataklysm – Unconquered Review

Kataklysm – Unconquered Review

“I’ve stuck by Kataklysm for a long time. The Quebecois death metal institution has remained a personal favorite for ages, partly because I grew up with the stuff. I became a fan through great records like Shadows & Dust, Serenity in Fire, In the Arms of Devastation, and the underrated Prevail. One tends to associate the era of a band most formative to their tastes with the sound of that band, which makes sense; that’s what caused them to become a fan, after all. As time takes its toll, things change; we can’t stagnate forever. Sometimes, after an absence, we don’t recognize our friend for a moment. Such was my initial reaction to Unconquered.” Identity crisis.

Illdisposed – Reveal Your Soul for the Dead Review

Illdisposed – Reveal Your Soul for the Dead Review

“Back in my younger years, I played in a little local band that was glorified Obituary-core. I had no delusions of grandeur, unless “grandeur” was playing at seedy bars for beer money some weekends. It was fun, and it was what I wanted to write and play at the time. Recently, before seeing Iron Maiden for the fourth time, my friend – who was in the old band for a spell – said that if he started another band, he’d want it to be Kataklysm 2.0. He quickly corrected himself and said it would be Kataklysm 0.9, as there was no way to beat Kataklysm at their own game. This was a somewhat unfortunate development – I’d love to play death metal with my friend again, but Kataklysm 0.9 already exists in the form of Danish death metal band Illdisposed.” Math is hard.

Backstabber – Conspiracy Theorist Review

Backstabber – Conspiracy Theorist Review

“Oh Canada. How doth thee provideth the world oodles of death metal. The country never seems to run out of new bands to show off every year. Usually I can expect good things from most of those bands, too, which is all the more impressive. To kick off the new year ov death metal, I abducted Québécois Backstabber and their self-released debut Conspiracy Theorist. Ten tracks (seven proper, three instrumental) of modernized death metal with a politically charged message of subterfuge and paranoia sounds like an interesting proposition. Can these guys sell me their scandals, or will they simply appear to me as loonies in tin-foil hats?” Watch the skies.

Ad Patres – A Brief Introduction to Human Experiments Review

Ad Patres – A Brief Introduction to Human Experiments Review

“A hacky joke that everyone can relate to is the excruciating process of picking a restaurant with a woman who’s okay with ‘anywhere.’ ‘No, I don’t feel like tacos.’ ‘No, I had red meat two days ago and that’s a steakhouse.’ ‘We went there two months ago, I want something new.’ ‘It’s not called The B.K. Lounge, it’s Burger King, and we’re not going there.’ Repeat ad infinitum, or at least ad fame. Before we get too comfy on our high horse (or eat it on a pizza, which is shockingly delicious), metalheads generally are the same way.” Delicious like horse pizza?

Vane – Black Vengeance Review

Vane – Black Vengeance Review

“If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself pondering the great questions of the universe. For instance, like me you’ve probably wondered what would happen if Lamb of God and Kataklysm made sweet love while Alestorm sat in the corner reading them a bedtime story. Unlike most of the big questions plaguing humanity, we no longer have to speculate on this one. Polish band Vane love drama on the high seas, and on their debut album Black Vengeance, they throw their three-pointed hat into the hotly contested ring of pirate metal. Is this going to be worth the pay-per-view fee?” Hoist the N00bs and batten down the skull pit!

Unearth – Exctinction(s) Review

Unearth – Exctinction(s) Review

“I’ve always liked Unearth’s style of metalcore, which I first encountered on the genre classic The Oncoming Storm. That’s their high-water mark for me, and the sound of Americanized Swedish melo-death with the breakdowns of metalcore hit both the melodic and kinetic sweet spots. Yes, structurally it was predictable; you could bet successfully that if there was a chugging bit then a melodic one was right around the corner or vice versa, but it worked like gangbusters. The more Unearth adheres to their established sound, in my view, the better.” Stay in your lane!

Vuohi – Witchcraft Warfare Review

Vuohi – Witchcraft Warfare Review

“It’s 6:50 PM on a cold Saturday night. I’m tapping my foot impatiently, waiting for my lovely girlfriend — a few months my elder, and perhaps a bit slower moving, therefore — to come out from her room. ‘Come on, darling,’ I say, double-checking my tie in the mirror, ‘we’ll be late if we don’t leave soon.’ I hear the door open, and expect to be floored; she always looks so good in dresses, and this is a formal event. I turn around and do a triple-take — she’s wearing a strawberry onesie. I’m left confused as to what her intentions were, and I may perhaps never figure it out. May as well make the most of it, right? This ethos permeated my listening time with the Finnish band Vuohi’s debut full-length Witchcraft Warfare.” Kitchen sink-core.