Album Reviews : Kataklysm – Heaven's Venom
With their 2010 release Heaven’s Venom, Canada’s favourite sons of Death Metal Kataklysm unleash another serve of neck destroying tracks that can stand proud amongst the bands punishing back catalogue. Putting aside the bone-head Death Metal artwork, one is welcomed to the bands tenth studio album by the baritone ramblings of Rocky Balboa on what it is to be one tough mother fucker in the latest Rocky film… Don’t worry, it’s all up hill from here!
Once the obligatory Kataklysm film sample is through the first track ‘A Soulless God’ hits hard and heavy and with a feeling of sheer relief that guitarist Jean-Francois ‘J-F’ Dagenais’ guitar tone is far better than their somewhat boner-killing previous release Prevail. The music is just as one would expect; heavy, bouncing, groove drenched riffs accompanied by the blindingly fast ‘hyper-blast’ sections that the Canadians are traditionally known for. It’s a formula that the band has raped continually throughout their career, but who would have Kataklysm any other way? The songs ‘Determined (Vows for Vengeance)’, ‘As The Wall Collapses’ and ‘Numb And Intoxicated’ standout as the.. ahh.. standout tracks and best showcase the heavy-as-fuck and punchy in house production skills of guitarist J.F. This incredibly talented musician/producer has, through Kataklysm, honed in on a style and sound that is unique, unmistakable and utterly seducing of any metalhead with a soft spot for groove laced Death Metal. Kataklysm’s trademark style, intense snare blasting, flying kick drumming and groove are inherent within all the tracks on the album however Heaven’s Venom is also a progression for J.F and the band through their injection of far more melody into the songs, the use of clean sections and a more ‘open’ drumming approach from undisputed blast lord Max Duhmel.
Many of the tracks, particularly ‘Nail the Renegade’ and ‘At the Edge of the World’ are the most Melodic Death sounding songs Kataklysm have conjured stylistically to date and have allowed bassist Stephane Barbe to finally get a chance to take his bass for a walk within the former mentioned track in a very rare Kataklysm moment! Vocalist Maurizio Iacono is brutal and catchy in equal measure and although his audibly and genuinely pissed off vocal attack holds ones interest in the album till its close, overall the vocals, like the album itself, do still lie (along with the previous studio release Prevail) in the shadow of the bands crushing 2006 opus In The Arms Of Devastation.
Although Heaven’s Venom is a killer, head-banging return to form for the Canadian Hyper-Blasters and an album that will (for the time being anyway) remain on the top of the pile for returning listens, overall it has served to re-establish this one goats’ swoon for Kataklysm’s fat, slow grooving riffs and punishing style of death metal as it exists on their seminal albums, the aforementioned In The Arms Of Devastation and EPIC (The Poetry of War). Not something the band would like to hear themselves about their new release, but still something of a positive and worthwhile in one otherwise useless opinion! Kataklysm’s Heavens Venom: to be best enjoyed while drinking Coopers Sparkling, eating cheap steak and arm wrestling with overweight death heads. 7/10
Album: Heaven’s Venom
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast/Riot
1. A Souless God
2. Determined (Vows of Vengeance)
3. Faith Made of Shrapnel
4. Push The Venom
5. Hail The Renegade
6. As The Walls Collapse
7. Numb & Intoxicated
8. At The Edge of The World
9. Suicide River
10. Blind Savior