Kataklysm
Meditations


3.0
good

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (261 Reviews)
June 5th, 2018 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: introspection.

Kataklysm are definitely not the same iteration of the band formed over twenty five years ago. It’s natural, for things are not meant to always remain the same. Take a tree’s seed for example; at first, it lays dormant, waiting to unleash its potential. Eventually, the seeds sprouts, giving way to a new life and development. It’s at this stage we see this life force act on its potential and grow into fully fledged magnificence. Unfortunately for a band like Kataklysm, the constant pruning and bending left less “magnificence” and more “middling mediocrity”.

Meditations stands simply as the Canadian’s thirteenth full length release, full of the usual fan fare of bombastic riffing, gruffly roared death metal vocals and typically placed blast beats, Kataklysm opts for a progressively more melodic approach than their last few offerings. Unfortunately, the band’s 2018 release feels naturally lacklustre, run of the mill and completely uninspiring to the world of death metal, giving way to a formulaic “by the book” style of music they’ve been releasing for years. Just like the grown tree from the tired simile above, Meditations shows a band going through the motions - leaves grow, change colour and fall… before being regrown into the same, “but different” version of the original.

Opening the new album is an excerpt bastardised from the likes of Edmund Burke:

...for evil to triumph it only takes good men to do nothing...

Even before a single riff enters there’s a real sense that Meditations is going to be epic. “Guillotine” sets an undeniable tone of force, typical of the band’s everyday foundation. The tight, polished riffing of Dagenais combine well with the jutting percussive touches from Beaudoin. The instrumental proficiency shown by all aspects is clear and precise, showcasing early what these Canadian metal veterans can offer in the year 2018.

As the album progresses, there’s clarity in where Kataklysm’s music is going. Sure, there’s some powerful riffing, solid vocal passages and a complimentary instrumental backbone, but there’s nothing that raises Meditations above the standard they’ve set on previous releases. Even when considering the band’s natural gravitational pull to all things melodic, adjusting only to shift tempo and musical direction from time to time the album’s lifeless production strips away the sheer intensity needed to carry the darkened overtones of tracks like “The Last Breath I’ll Take Is Yours” and “Born To Kill And Destined To Die”. There’s a distinct lack of edge to Kataklysm’s sonic fury, flattening the music where it should actually build and crescendo.

Fairly, this supposed powerhouse of death metal does try to impart themselves in a positive manner, before falling into a rut of manifested musical mediocrity. The sheer melodic nature of closer “Achilles’ Heel” benefits from a slower pace and hook heavy approach, sinking into a groove of mid paced riffs and even growls. It’s a style that shines through for Kataklysm, but shouldn’t be relied on too heavily in the future. Additionally, the groove focused “Outsider” showcases some of the band’s strongest songwriting in a decade, highlighting the album with a focused and cohesive display of the group’s better features. It’s not overly technical and doesn’t attempt unflattering attempts at speed. Instead, smart hooks and intelligent instrumental prowess enter the fray, demanding dominance with every line.

Overall Kataklysm has gifted fans with a “passable” if completely underwhelming album. It’s not a bad release, but for a band with so much experience, Meditations should be better than it is. When everything but the production is on par with the band’s ‘by the book’ style, there’s always going to be the resounding feeling that the group’s “special something” is missing. For thirty nine minutes listeners wait for that extra effort, something innovative, something better than what Meditations is offering.

It seems the quote mentioned above needs a simple rewrite. For Kataklysm’s 2018 piece, it should read something like this:

...for mediocrity to triumph, it only takes good bands to do nothing...



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is almost a 2.5/5



Outsider:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sLXeuSBjQMs#


TheNotrap
June 5th 2018


9302 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Enjoyable reading, as usual.



I like the opener, but I find the album too predictable and generic.

"by the book" stuff, as you said.

Digging: Burning Witches - Hexenhammer

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah it’s got all the makings of a great album... then stops.

DungeonBoy
June 5th 2018


4917 Comments


Good review, exactly what I expected. Band has always been a solid 3.0, kind of surprised they're up to album 13

Digging: Vouna - Vouna

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

13 albums in 26-27 years seems okay enough to me, just wish they had something more memorable to offer

Hawks
June 5th 2018


62423 Comments


I've always liked these guys tbh, will jam this. m/

Digging: Senses Fail - Life Is Not a Waiting Room

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There’s nothing strictly “unlikeable” about this band, except for the fact they’re constantly under delivering

Hawks
June 6th 2018


62423 Comments


I've only heard Epic and In the Arms of Devastation in full but I thought they were both great. I'm gonna listen to this one tonight at work probably.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely let me know how you go. I’d question a rating higher than 3.5 however

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2018


24368 Comments


Aside from Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse (and a sparse few others), I basically refuse to listen to any classic death metal act's new albums. They are always PAINFULLY mediocre, and it even though usually never **horrible** the fact that it's so middle of the road actively makes me more anger than it should. So yeah, I'm going to avoid this.

Good review Rob. You captured how "3" this album probably is perfectly.

Digging: Deceased - Ghostly White

brettgoespunk
June 6th 2018


259 Comments


Morbid Angel is mediocre as hell lately. Cannibal on the other hand is fantastic. I can see what you mean though.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2018


24368 Comments


I really liked Kingdoms Disdained personally. Illud was shit, but it redeemed MA slightly for me.

Hellscythe
June 6th 2018


2952 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

everything after Serenity in Fire just kind of blends together with these guys. the first two were their most interesting for sure, but Shadows & Dust and that album are pretty solid slabs of groovy dm.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 7th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Morbid Angel is mediocre as hell lately. Cannibal on the other hand is fantastic. I can see what you mean though.




This : ]

Astral Abortis
June 8th 2018


6736 Comments


Immolation, Autopsy, The Chasm, Spawn of Possession, Mortuary Drape, Nocturnus, Pestilence, Sadistic Intent, StarGazer, Defeated Sanity all still releasing quality shiiiit. Probably more I can't think of rn

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 8th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

We could all be doing a bit worse than that list Snox : ]

XingKing
June 8th 2018


14029 Comments


I've never heard an album from these guys that surpassed "average". They consistently come up with acceptable but highly underdeveloped ideas which leads to them forever being inoffensive background noise.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 8th 2018


9076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And that’s the no problem problem with these guys.

Flugmorph
June 8th 2018


19681 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

farily enjoyable album so far

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

WretchedCacophony
June 8th 2018


781 Comments


is probably as anemic as the one before it. I met Maurizio at the airport once and he's really cool but I almost wanted to ask them to be better.

"Immolation, Autopsy, The Chasm, Spawn of Possession, Mortuary Drape, Nocturnus, Pestilence, Sadistic Intent, StarGazer, Defeated Sanity all still releasing quality shiiiit. Probably more I can't think of rn"

Spawn of Possession has ceased to exist, unfortunately.

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure



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