KATAKLYSM – Serenity In Fire

KATAKLYSM - Serenity In Fire


Nuclear Blast
Release date: March 9, 2004

User Review
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What is a “Northern Hyperblast?” Well, simply put, it is the self-coined term for the music style played by Canada’s Kataklysm. This musical style can be checked out on the band’s seventh studio CD, Serenity In Fire.” The term is very unique, which would make you believe that the style is also. But basically, the style the band presents is a combination of speed, thrash, and death metal.

Kataklysm is a four-piece strike force that was formed in 1991. The current band line up is Maurizio Iacono on vocals, Jean-Francois Degenais on guitar, Stephane Barbe on bass, and newcomer Martin Maurais on drums.

The first track, “The Ambassador Of Pain” begins with a freaky voice informing the listener that there is only one guarantee in life. That is, “none of us shall see heaven.” Not a groundbreaking way to begin a CD that has death metal roots, but effective nonetheless. After the voice, the music begins with typical thrash metal guitar grinding. Then the onslaught begins, as the drums start and the pace quickens. For those familiar with Kataklysm, Maurais’ drumming is going to stand out immediately, as he is a double bass machine.

“The Resurrected” is next up on the disc and is one of the stronger tracks on the collection. The song has a very fast pace from the get go. Eventually, the pace changes and Iacono uses a surprising new vocal style, as he changes from barking to a semi-singing style. His voice is by no means opera-trained, but it definitely sounds great with Kataklysm’s music.

Besides having a kick ass name, “As I Slither,” also shows how the band can change their musical style a little bit. This song starts with a great guitar grind and the chorus, if death metal songs really can have a chorus, is extremely catchy. This is not a slow song by most metal standards, but for Kataklysm it shows that they do not always need turbo-speed double bass to make a good song.

“For All Our Sins” picks up the pace again and the guest vocals of Hypocrisy’s Peter Tagtgren are featured. The guitar work of Degenais is also more prevalent in this track, as more intricate sounds guide the music along more than on the previous tracks.

“The Night They Returned” makes it easy to picture a crowd head banging and throwing fists into the air. The guitar bridge in this song is really awesome as the pace changes to a slow grind, but with a very distinct sound that showcases Kataklysm’s songwriting abilities.

Beavis and Butthead could have inspired the title track, as any song with fire in the title has to be good. “Serenity In Fire” does not disappoint. The track has much more screaming than the previous tracks.

What happens when a band plays Mad Libs when they are drunk? Song titles like “Blood On The Swans” are created. Never would anyone think they would hear a metal song about swans; after all, swans don’t belong in metal. But, it’s all good, because blood is also in the title. This track has some of the fastest double bass ever heard. This cannot save the song, as it is not one of the stronger tracks on the disc.

The CD completes with “10 Seconds From The End,” “The Tragedy I Preach,” and “Under The Bleeding Sun.” Characterizing all of these tracks is the aforementioned punishing double bass, grinding guitars and bass, and extreme vocals. “The Tragedy I Preach” has a marked resemblance to older Machine Head, circa Burn My Eyes.

At first listen, Serenity In Fire appears to be a turbo speed CD with little variety, which may only appeal to fans of death or speed metal. Upon further examination, Kataklysm has done an excellent job of putting together a well-rounded CD, varying their style just enough to appeal to a broader audience. This does not mean the disc is for everyone, but anyone who enjoys more extreme metal will enjoy this disc. The album cover alone is definitely worth a look.

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