ALBUM REVIEW: Kataklysm – Of Ghosts and Gods

Kataklysm - Of Ghosts And Gods - ArtworkWords: Laura McCarthy

Jumping straight to it, after Waiting for the End to Come back in 2013, KATAKLYSM’s Of Ghosts and Gods hits with immense sound, making it clear that after a successful tour with the last album, they are bigger and better than ever before.

The intro into the first track begins with a sound clip from the RIDLEY SCOTT film Exodus, with nicely sums up the overtones lyrically of this album. The rest of Breaching the Assylum is raw and heavy, and it’s doubtful any fans won’t be smiling as the guitar kicks in. Maurizio Iacono nails the vocals in this album, and the rhythm from Oli Beaudoin (drums) and Stephane Barbe (bass) and the melody from Jean-Francois Dagenais (guitar). Having being the most consistent member of the band in terms of his instrument and longevity in his role, it’s hugely impressive the originality of Dagenais’s playing on this twelfth studio album.

The Black Sheep brings around a huge amount of sound, the overall feel is simply fantastic, and the track never lets up. It’s hard hitting, yet melodic. Dagenais is the complete master of the riff in this album. There’s more scope and more drive than the previous album, more balance and more to discover the more you listen. This is not at all to criticise the last offering from KATAKLYSM, but it’s a pleasure to have this dynamic feel from such an accomplished band.

Marching Through Graveyards is incredibly layered. The bass is solid, as is the guitar, and the ebb and rise of the track is complex without being impenetrable. In fact, this is what makes it such a good song- the relaxing between vocals and instrumentals is super satisfying.

Many will have heard the track Thy Serpents Tongue as the first single from the band in anticipation of this album. For those who have not heard it- shame on you- because it’s truly a highlight. Vindication is yet another track full of the bands signature drumming, with big noise coming from all angles. The mix is fantastic, with every element balanced masterfully by producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, AMON AMARTH).

The sixth track on Of Ghosts and Gods might have been in danger of becoming filler material or repetitive in the hands of lesser bands. This is most definitely not the case for KATAKLYSM with Soul Destroyer. Hard, fast, and yet again filled with awesome guitar riffs, it mixes just the right amount of everything that fans truly love about KATAKLYSM. Carrying Crosses is filled with more deep, dark inspiring melodies and aggressive rhythm.

What’s so interesting about this record is that KATAKLYSM are undoubtedly in control of the feeling of the music, with each track clearly being unique to the band’s sound, and yet each song is utterly different. The experience of Of Ghosts and Gods as a whole is massively satisfying, with the urge to turn re-listen being almost instantaneous. However, there is no track that couldn’t stand and hold its own as a bold and masterful piece of musicianship.

Shattered is carefully crafted, with no uplift in the heaviness, but with a slight shift in gear. This will probably be to the audience of the upcoming tour’s benefit, as the heat turns up again with Hate Spirit, another juggernaut of crashing symbols and obliterated snares, chugging guitars, deep- virtually funky basslines and layered vocals. Lyrically this album is full of poignant messages and catharsis will reign heavy with those the words resonate with.

There’s just enough pause on the last chord of Hate Spirit to gather yourself before the final track, The World Is A Dying Insect comes unsuspectingly softly into your ears. KATAKLYSM do not disappoint the whole album through and finish brilliantly, but this final track is much more malleable than the rest of the album. In the wake of such a relentlessly heavy hitting record, this track extends the levels of melody and emotion to a new plain.

KATAKLYSM have always been a band of great notability, with a sound that is entirely their own, no member goes without their own mark being made in this record. Dexterous playing, powerful vocals and immeasurable playability, Of Ghosts and Gods is a huge contender for one of the top albums of this year.

Rating: 9/10

Of Ghosts and Gods is set for release on July 31st via Nuclear Blast Records