Released: 2004, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The legends of Canadian death metal, Kataklysm, are back with another slab of brutal death with SERENITY IN FIRE. Carrying over the momentum from 2002’s brilliant SHADOWS AND DUST, the new CD features all the evil riffing, monster double bass drumming and searing growls that Kataklysm has been providing for over 10 years now. Guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais handled production work once again, as he has done with every Kataklysm album to date. The drums are mixed heavily and right up front so they rattle your teeth. This could be one of those “reference” CDs that drummers will use to hone their craft. They are really the star of SERENITY IN FIRE.
“The Ambassador of Pain” opens the CD with Maurizio Iacono’s half shriek, half growl (which is starting to sound like a less-stoned Chris Barnes) and some stunning drumming from new member Martin Maurais. Maurais also shines during the intro to “The Resurrected.” Further in the vein of approachable death is “As I Slither,” with its slowed down, almost catchy chorus and meaty riffs. “For All Our Sins” continues on this path, as well, with Hypocrisy’s Peter Tagtgren lending a hand on vocals. Tagtgren’s black metal shriek offsets Iacono’s death growl perfectly and makes this one of the standout tracks on the CD. The track that showcases Maurais’ drumming the best is the intro to “Blood On The Swans.” Pete Sandoval, Dave Lombardom and Gene Hoglan should bow in recognition of the speed Maurais unleashes here. The blastbeats seriously sound like a machine gun! I cannot think of a record that has had such powerful and clear drumming in recent memory.
If you are a drum freak, SERENITY IN FIRE will keep you turgid for its entire 38 minutes. Kataklysm are always dependable and while a rare breed on the Canadian music scene, they can certainly compete with the big boys of death metal.
KILLER KUTS: “The Ambassador Of Pain,” “As I Slither,” “For All Our Sins”