The Ambassador Of Pain

The Resurrected

As I Slither

For All Our Sins

The Night They Returned

Serenity In Fire

Blood On The Swans

Seconds From The End

The Tragedy I Preach

Under The Bleeding Sun

Maurizio Iacono - vocals
JF Dagenais - guitar
Stephane Barbe - bass
Martin Maurais - drums

KATAKLYSM :    "Serenity in Fire"               kataklysm                                      NBR


review by Boris "Azrael" Witta ___               

So here it is, the 7th album of Canada’s number one Death Metal band Kataklysm. Announced as one of the real masterpieces of Death in this year. But is that true ? It's absolutely true ! “Serenity In Fire” is even better than the predecessors, and it was not easy to top them, especially “Epic – The Poetry Of War”.

From the first guitar riff on, you know already who’s playing here. Kataklysm have created their very own version of Death Metal, based on – in relation to other bands - simple guitar riffs, an inhuman voice, changing between deep growls from hell and hysterical screams and an incredible thunder drumming with the typical Northern hyperblasts. I assert that the new man, Martin Maurais, is one of the best and most talented drummers of the actual Extreme Metal scene.

“Serenity In Fire” is the most varied album of Kataklysm, the songs often change between very groovy parts and blastbeat storms. All songs are dominated by one or two riffs, but these riffs are indeed catchy, so if you heard them once or twice, you’ll never get them out of your head again, and the whole material is very aggressive and also angry. Guitarist JF Dagenais, who is also responsible for the killer production of this album, plays one killer melody after the other, but nevertheless, his way of playing the 6 strings is very rhythm-oriented. I think I don’t have to say much about Maurizio’s voice – it’s absolutely fantastic how he penetrates his vocal chords.  

So let’s have a look at the songs, because every single one of them is a killer ! “Serenity In Fire” starts with a short spoken intro, and then Hell’s unleashed. The first track, The Ambassador Of Pain, is very brutal and goes straight ahead with a lot of groove. The first double bass attack blows your mind, and Martin demonstrates his ability with some very crazy, but precise and punctual blastbeats. Like most of the songs, The Ambassador Of Pain has a lot of tempo changes, so there are some great headbang parts besides total blasting. A very good and strong beginning with a chorus for eternity ! The Resurrected starts with a drumming like a firing machine gun, then it passes over to a dynamic mid-tempo smasher. Maurizio often changes his vocals’ style, and the song is dominated by heavy riffs and a lot of breaks. Also very good to let your head rotate ! The first single of the album is called As I Slither, and it’s one of the slowest songs of “Serenity In Fire”. Always in dragging mid-tempo, the great chorus, which is easy to grow along, sticks out and is the first of a lot of highlights. 

For All Our Sins is one of my favourites. It’s the longest song on the album and it contains all trademarks of Kataklysm : the typical snare-blastbeats, all kinds of Maurizio’s vocals, an absolutely killer riff in the vein of Bay Area Thrash, lots of groove parts which will break your neck. But the most exciting thing on For All Our Sins is that Mr. Peter Tätgren himself ennobles this Death Metal Classic, which reminds a bit of the ultimate Kataklysm song Manipulator Of Souls. Unbelievably good ! 

Blood On The Swans is the most brutal, most violent and fastest song with an extraordinary drumming. Martin manages to change between three different styles of blastbeats, the riffing is absolutely fast and destroying and Maurizio growls very, very deep. Short, but very effective ! 

The following The Night They Returned is the most inconspicuous song and not very spectacular. Changing between groove and blast, it’s a good headbanger with a great lead riff at the end. The Night They Returned is part of a movie soundtrack, and it has appetizing gore lyrics. 

10 Seconds To The End has the most extraordinary and most varied drums, and Martin also shows some Jazz influences. Special is also the stop-and-go drum part, which starts the first slow song. Later, it’s pure hellfire and destruction, before the song changes again. If you hear Maurizio’s vocals, you would think he growls and screams his soul out of his body. Insane ! 

The titletrack himself is a real Kataklysm hymn, again a stamping mid-tempo smasher without blasts, but with a great chorus, and I’m sure that Serenity In Fire will become a live classic ! Once more the law is : Bang you head ! 

Under The Bleeding Sun is the biggest surprise of “Serenity In Fire”: it’s a real Black Metal song in the vein of Dissection or Naglfar, and it contains a fantastic guitar melody, which goes straight in the ear and mind, and the song is mostly fast. To complete the Black Metal style of Under The Bleeding Sun, Maurizio always screams very high, until the last part of the song, which is again pure Death Metal. JF Dagenais draws from his guitar a great, very melodic solo in the middle of the song, and for me, Under The Bleeding Sun is the best track on the album. Sensational ! 

The final The Tragedy I Preach is again a great mid-tempo song with another catchy bridge and chorus, and there are also some up-tempo parts. The Tragedy I Preach ends with one of the best headbang parts of “Serenity In Fire”. The whole song is based on (mostly) slow and simple riffs, but once again, these riffs are absolutely effective and a pure pleasure for the listeners !

With “Serenity In Fire”, Kataklysm have created their best album until now, and it will be very hard to top this grower once again ! Don’t miss the Canadian maniacs in April at The No Mercy Festivals !!

Rating: 9/10  


Boris Witta    

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