Kataklysm – “Shadows and Dust” (retro review)


“Shadows And Dust” (2002)

Nuclear Blast

Rating: 8.0/10

 It is my opinion that by now, Kataklysm has become death metal’s equivalent of meat and potatoes. No longer at the forefront of the genre in terms of experimentation and pushing the boundaries, the band seems content with writing albums full of aggressive, punishing extreme metal with just a hint of melody and catchiness, while composing their albums in such a way that they do not overstay their welcome. In other words, with Kataklysm these days, you pretty much know what you are getting. And what you are getting is a relatively short, to the point record of frequently anthemic, yet unashamedly heavy death metal that may not break much new ground, but that will still provide enough quality entertainment to keep the fans coming for more.

If you are looking for the most extreme music on the face of the planet, “Shadows And Dust” is not it; at the same time, despite being insanely catchy for a death metal record, it still retains the aggression and the heaviness associated with the genre. In Flames this is not. Just because Kataklysm might throw in a bit of melody at you to keep things coherent does not mean that they will suddenly start using clean vocals, pop hooks, or try to get their music played on your local equivalent of a mainstream rock station. Some of the songs display elements of all-out death metal groove, and would doubtlessly turn out to be live favorites; yet just when you think that yet another one of the greats has compromised their vision, a vicious (if often overly triggered) blast beat comes in to remind you what you are listening to.

Sure, the lack of additional frills and overt experimentation may turn some off, and the vocals of Maurizio Iacono tend to get into the silly category when he attempts his higher-pitched black metal screams (he is more than competent in the lower-pitched growls), but these are not enough to detract from enjoyment of the album. At this stage, Kataklysm may never be album of the year material, but at the very least, they are bound to provide sufficient entertainment value for your money.

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