Kataklysm – Meditations (Review)

KataklysmThis is the thirteenth album from Canadian death metal veterans Kataklysm.

I hugely enjoyed 2015’s Of Ghosts and Gods, and loved being able to catch the band live on that tour, so this new album is warmly anticipated.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kataklysm, (where have you been?), then you should know that this is a catchy and memorable version of the metal of death; melodic death metal with infectious hooks and streamlined, modern brutality. This combination of melodic aggression and accessible brutality has earned the band many fans and much acclaim over the years, and it’s been justified too.

On Meditations Kataklysm have returned to deliver us 39 minutes of new material. The band know their style well, and at this point in their career they are a well-oiled songwriting machine. However, it would be a mistake to view Meditations as purely more of the same. Sure, the core of what makes Kataklysm so enjoyable – melodic death metal with catchiness and heaviness wrapped into an endearing and charismatic parcel – is intact and well, but there are also some different aspects of the band’s music coming through on this latest release.

Some of these new songs have more of a melodic focus than usual, developing the emotive side of band’s delivery further than previously. However, this is sometimes offset by the fact that the album also has more of a modern metal feel to it in places, too. This is at least partly down to the production, but also down to some of the band’s chunky, choppy, groovy riffs and songwriting choices. In a way the Kataklysm of 2018 is a hybrid beast, operating in modern metal waters almost as much as it does in traditional death metal ones.

Of course, there’s still plenty of blast beats and cutting, heavy riffs to satisfy. It’s important to remember that this is death metal, after all, and thankfully Kataklysm seem well aware of this. The result is an extremely enjoyable album of melodic aggression, with an emotive and modern edge.

A recommended listen, and a strong new chapter in the Kataklysm story.

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