Kataklysm – “Meditations” (Nuclear Blast)
Oh man, just how slick is this album!! Whoever said that death metal couldn’t sound polished or dare I say it, stylish clearly hasn’t heard “Meditations”!!!! While many people might associate 13 with bad luck, I’d say Kataklysm have hit it right on the head with this 13th release, which I would say is their best album in many a year. Sure, its a far cry from their days with Sylvain Houde (for those of you that remember), but I’m certainly impressed by the frictionless, well oiled machine that Kataklysm have become, wallowing graciously in a meadow of melodies while rolling out some of the meatiest and catchiest grooves that I’ve ever heard them do – awesome! Added to that is the top notch production giving rise to the amazing sound on the 10 tracks here, razor sharp and crystal clear and shockingly loud so you won’t need to crank up this beast to hear it roar. In no small measure are the stoked performances of the band themselves, who really go at it right from the off and deliver flawlessly on the superior compositions, all of which have an air of careful construct, the perfect synthesis between melodic bliss and shredding brutality, adding up to some very highly catchy numbers indeed. Quite how the band put it all together given their disparate locations is a question in itself, but “Meditations” sets the blueprint for producing an elite level release – and then some! From the brutal but blissful hyperspeed soundscape of ‘In Limbic Resonance’ wailing soulful guitars mesmerisingly contrast the screams and harsh vocals of Maurizio Iacono as Jean-François Dagenais truly earned my admiration for throwing in so many styles with quality that I soon gave up trying to keep count and just enjoyed the beauty of the music ha ha! With deep shamanic tones came ‘Narcissist’, graced by Stephane Barbe’s deep bass grooves before the raw guitar of Dagenais took the song to a really epic feel, brooding and pulsating with some menacing spoken word in the background. Chundering in with heavy rolling riffs matched by the incredible drumming of Oli Beaudoin and Iacono’s raw rasps was ‘Outsider’, a simply addictive number built for the pit while permitting reflection in its ambient moments and some very thoughtful words of ‘..learn to walk before you can talk…boy..’. If “Master Of Puppets” took thrash to the mainstream then “Meditations” has sure given death metal a hefty kick toward that end.