Kataklysm - Serenity in Fire
Nuclear Blast
10 songs (38:25)
Release year: 2004
Kataklysm, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jay
Album of the month

Call the highway patrol! There is a speed demon on the loose! APB! He is using a drum kit and playing faster than ever! Name: Martin Maurais. He is unreal. Next time Kataklysm plays, I am going to ask to see his bionic arms. There is just no way a human can play drums this fast. Last time Kataklysm played in New York, I briefly met Maurais after the show he had just torn up. He was all muscle and after hearing this album, there is no doubt that he is a fitting successor to Max Duhamel. In fact, he makes Duhamel look like the Northern Slow Ass instead of the Northern Hyperblast.

This new release from Kataklysm is a great shot of brutal death metal. Taking all the excellent elements from Shadows and Dust, they managed to roll all of that over into another killing album but added an even more explosive element behind the drums. The intro to “Blood on the Swans” is a perfect example of this man’s drumming prowess. It starts with ten seconds of straight blast beats that easily could be over 1100 bpm. The rest of the song is a death metal fest with wailing guitars, odd solos and sounds and the deep growls and screeches of Maurizio Iacono. His delivery is also improved over Shadows and Dust. He seems to let the music flow a lot more on this album and adds his vocals at more opportune times than he has in the past. The production on the vocals has also improved. His screeches are much clearer especially over the thunderous blasting in the background. The guitar and bass production is virtually identical to the excellent production of the last album. The drum production is slightly better sounding but the quality of the drumming is noticeably better. I challenge you to find a drummer faster than Maurais. His control and timing is superhuman. A new standard in blasting speed has been set and others will have to scramble to catch up. The only complaint I have with the production is the clicking noise the double bass drums make. This is pretty standard for a Kataklysm album so I shouldn’t complain too much however.

Ripping songs like “The Ambassador of Pain” tear through you just as a good death metal track should. Screams of decaying agony as well as crunching, mind-bending riffage pulverize your ears. Then the blasting drum work and booming bass resonate through your soul annihilating anything that still remained. The album is not static and varies the death attack somewhat on songs like “The Tragedy I Preach” which has a much more melodic introduction and slower tempo that becomes faster and more grinding as the song progresses. It is a sign of a mature death metal band when they can slow the tempo down slightly and still be as killing as when they’re attempting to break the speed of sound. The title track manages to have the same sort of effect. While slower than the attack of other songs, Maurizio manages to use his voice to truly affect our perceptions and convince us of the brutality that torments him. “Serenity in Fire” truly represents a culmination of all things Kataklysm. From the melodic verses and bridge to the totally vicious breakdowns and choruses, it’s a complete song. “For All our Sins” is another brutal song that even features Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy, Abyss) doing backup vocals on the chorus. A must listen as his voice and Iacono’s offset to create a truly interesting sound. This is just gravy on top of another spectacular masterpiece of brutal mastery.

Kataklysm has managed to make and album that is leaps and bounds better than their last album. While many thought Shadows and Dust to be all they were capable of, they come back with an unbelievable release that should gain them a newfound respect and turn many heads in the death metal world. Blast away at them because these purveyors of brutal core aren’t leaving anytime soon.

Killing Songs :
The Ambassador of Pain, Blood on the Swans, Serenity in Fire, The Tragedy I Preach
Jay quoted 93 / 100
Alex quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Kataklysm that we have reviewed:
Kataklysm - Heavens Venom reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Kataklysm - Prevail reviewed by James and quoted 68 / 100
Kataklysm - In the Arms of Devastation reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Kataklysm - Shadows & Dust reviewed by Alex and quoted 95 / 100
Kataklysm - Epic (The Poetry of War) reviewed by Alex and quoted 72 / 100
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