In The Arms Of Devastation
posted on 2/2006 By:
It’s not so much about the Benjamins as it is about the riffs, and Kataklysm have plenty of them. Surprisingly, this Canadian band has been tearing it up for 15 years, but it took close to a decade for them to garner a large fanbase, or so it seems. After The Prophecy (Stigmata of the Immaculate), Epic: The Poetry of War, and Shadows & Dust touched ground via Nuclear Blast, their reputation was solidified and people consequently turned out in droves to purchase 2004’s Serenity in Fire. And now here we are. In the Arms of Devastation finds these Northern hyperblasters not quite at the top of the echelon – as the usual vulnerabilities will attest – though it still proves enjoyable when absorbed under realistic expectations.
Most notable is the departure of drummer Martin Maurais (Dechrist), but the return of Max Duhamel has ultimately bettered the troupe. He’s more tasteful and restrained, not as overbearing. Like always, at least when Kataklysm are the topic of choice, the riffage is what compels me to keep listening, and they constantly deliver in that area. The melodic passages of “Like Angels Weeping (The Dark)” are nice; however, the tail end levels all the souls unfortunate enough to be caught in its path. “Let It Burn” continues with the fast-paced death offensive, but is forgettable in the end. The eager mountain climber reaches yet another peak on “Crippled & Broken,” though, since the mid-pace tempo draws out the riffs for slower consumption. Oddly, the middle section features a guitar pattern similar to that of Extol’s “In Reversal” (The Blueprint Dives).
The chugging commencement of “To Reign Again” is great. Nonetheless, it gets even better when the bass is left to fend for itself, accompanied only by minimalist background drumming. When everyone jumps back into the fray, the culmination is astounding. Then there’s not much to chew on until “The Road to Devastation,” which ushers in epic qualities that In the Arms of Devastation apparently saved for the closer. The tension is high from the get-go, while Kataklysm later plod through the track with calculated determination. The leads are nothing less than mesmerizing, aptly leading the song to its unusual demise, and the sound of a ticking clock will forever remind me of Dream Theater’s Scenes from a Memory. Thought you’d like to know.
So, what becomes of In the Arms of Devastation after its 41 minutes expire? Probably what’s happened to their other albums – no matter how many fantastic moments they muster on each release – I always end up shelving them for long periods of time. I’ve never been a fan of Iacono’s vocals, in any incarnation, nor do I think every song stands out from the pack. I’m quite comfortable skipping over about half of any Kataklysm record, and that hasn’t changed. On the whole, this is fun to listen to, but there are too many good Canadian groups out there for Kataklysm to hog all the airwaves.
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Serenity In Fire
Shadows & Dust
Epic - The Poetry of War