KATAKLYSM – In The Arms of Devastation

KATAKLYSM - In The Arms of Devastation


Nuclear Blast
Release date: February 24, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The Canadian Death Metal stalwarts are back, and once again they deliver the goods. Consistency has always been one of Kataklysm’s trademarks, and in a world of ever-changing trends, music styles, bands, band line-ups, etc., etc., it’s always welcome to have bands that produce quality releases like black pearls on a flaming, poisonous string. The band’s original drummer -– Max Duhamel -– is back in the ranks, and together with bassist Stephane Barbre, he makes a rhythm section that can compete with the best in the genre. The riffing of JF Degenais is maybe a tad more melodic than before, and at times the band stands forth as the perfect continuation of the legendary Swedes of At the Gates. Completed with Maurizio Iacono’s very listenable vocals, the instrumental side of things is taken care of in excellent fashion.

The album opens up with its most USA-sounding track: “Like Angels Weeping (The Dark).” This is a fast and furious piece driven by Degenais’ tremolo, picked guitars, and tight double bass drumming from Duhamel. “Let them Burn” is more melodic –- the first of several songs of this mold on the album -– and is indeed another solid track. There’s plenty of blast beats in here too, and if the Limp Bizkitized Swedish scene could give this style a second chance, the world would definitely be a better place to live.

“Crippled & Broken” opens slow and juicy, and to a certain extent, recalls a more tonal version of Morbid Angel. The song increases in pace with the verse part and then takes on a very headbangable mid-tempo before some prog-laden riffing adds some diversity and air to the song structure. At times, this track has an almost Pantera-feel to it –- especially in the ending chorus part -– a nice touch indeed.

“To Reign Again” is more straightforward -– not too fast or brutal, has a catchy chorus, and is a small step back from the very strong opening trio. Although far heavier, it reeks of In Flames/Soilwork at times, and this style does not suit the band. The fast bridge before the second chorus is a welcome touch of brutality, though.

“It Turns to Rust” shows Iacono bringing in a more high-pitched vocal style in the verses, and this works very well. Unfortunately, the track is among the album’s weakest –- this does not make it a bad track, but despite good tendencies in both the verse parts and the chorus, it falls through compared to most of the rest of In the Arms of Devastation. Luckily, “Open Scars” is far better –- and this is one of the tracks that reminds of At the Gates, both in terms of riffing and groove. The pace is relatively fast and the beat is very catchy –- single note riffing and quick double-bass drums, along with a (for a Death Metal band) rather melodic and tonal guitar solo, makes the song stand out.

“Temptation’s Nest” is another melody-driven number, but does not reach the level of quality of its predecessor. The chorus is catchy and things can never be totally wrong when Max Duhamel gets to show off his blast beat skills, but overall this track does not keep up.

Summing up, three very good and three not so good tracks have been discussed -– and the unadulterated praise the album was given in the first paragraph seems a bit out of place. Luckily, the band has hidden its two gems at the end: “In Words of Desperation” and “The Road To Devastation” are two phenomenal Death Metal tunes … melodic, brutal, and insanely groovy. The former, speedy, the latter, slower and more epic. However, they both are great pieces of music and suddenly the album more than stands to be worthy of praise.

The band plays well, the vocals are both varied and gut-wrenching, the songs are (for the most part) of a very, very high standard, and the production is awesome -– clear and powerful, while retaining the band’s character and the authentic feel. Go buy this album now!


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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