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Kataklysm - Goliath review


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Band: Kataklysm
Album: Goliath
Style: Death metal
Release date: August 2023

01. Dark Wings Of Deception
02. Goliath
03. Die As A King
04. Bringer Of Vengeance
05. Combustion
06. From The Land Of The Living To The Land Of The Dead
07. The Redeemer
08. Heroes To Villains
09. Gravestones & Coffins
10. The Sacrifice For Truth

"What say you now, Goliath? Without your hair, you no longer possess your fantastic strength!" "That's Samson, idiot!"

Fifteen albums in thirty years is an impressive feat for any band, let alone a band who continually push for greater and greater extremes, such is the discography of Kataklysm. While the band are hardly the David to death metal's Goliath at this point in their career, they have a point to prove, one that is best measured in decibels.

How does the band ensure Goliath doesn't suffer the same fate as many a latter-day album from bands with extensive discographies and end up damned by obscurity? Well, while the band don't exactly reinvent the Northern Hyperblast wheel, they do widen the circle somewhat, and find spaces in their sound that they haven't fully deafened with their style yet.

Where Goliath excels is with tracks that weren't built to solely compete in the sonic arms race the band have long run. While songs like "Die As A King" and "Heroes To Villians" will deafen you and your neighbours, they don't focus solely on foot-to-the-floor power, with the latter having a great break in the middle of an otherwise solid track that has moments of melody dotted around. "Combustion" is a bouncy song that will catch your attention, and a chorus that will sear your eyebrows off, while "Gravestones & Coffins" will certainly catch you off guard in a refreshing and enjoyable way. While I enjoy the band's trademark sound, they've long set the bar so high that they can't overcome it (victims of their own success); I prefer the songs that deviate from this formula and just do their own thing, such as "The Sacrifice For Truth".

It seems Kataklysm's demand on drummers lead said members to spontaneously combust at a quicker rate than their Spinal Tap counterparts, with the band once more in flux behind the drum stool. Though I would keep a fire extinguisher next to the drum kit, I would argue the band are in safe hands with James Payne taking his seat behind the kit; those of you unfamiliar with his past work needn't do much research, as Goliath serves as a solid trial by fire, especially "Combustion"... better keep that extinguisher close. While he doesn't get to flex his muscles much in terms of diversity, he sure does in terms of intensity.

The band is otherwise in fine form; Iacono must surely be death metal's Little Mermaid, for his voice seems ageless, as if he made a deal with Ursula herself (... I didn't see the film, it's about Canadian death metal bands, right?). Barbe must also have made a similar deal with the deities of bass (Lemmy?), for his tone and place in the mix is great for fans of the four-string.

When you listen to Goliath, you do get the feeling the band seem confined by the expectation to stick to their formula; sure, they can tinker at the edges, but deviating too far would see them pilloried worse than Goliath himself. This does reflect in the music itself, with some songs like "Gravestones & Coffins" straining at the leash, but not daring to go that extra step. In turn, the tracks that do stick to the formula, such as "Dark Wings Of Deception", feel like another brick upon the pile of rubble (well, it was a wall once, but do you think after thirty years of sonic abuse that it would still be standing) rather than anything more than just another standard track.

To be going this strong fifteen albums into a style of music as demanding as death metal is an impressive feat in and of itself, but to get this far and still make a strong addition to an already stacked discography is an achievement few can claim. Goliath is a loud and powerful statement from a band showing no signs of slowing down yet (literally or figuratively).

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 8

Written on 05.08.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 143 users
05.08.2023 - 22:35
Thrash Talker
Great review, Im also surprised of Kataklysm's constance overall and glad to see they can still put out quality. Im gonna check out this one out when it releases thanks to you!
- Headbanging with mostly clogged arteries to that stuff -
Guib's List Of Essential Albums
- Also Thrash Paradise
Thrash Here
14.08.2023 - 15:43
Rating: 7

Pleasant enough album but very far away from their best release which was "Temple of Knowledge"
01.09.2023 - 17:46
Rating: 7

A bit to melodic and sterile a chunk of good old Kataklysm sickness would make this album a lot better...

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