(After a bit of a break, TheMadIsraeli completes his reconsideration of the music of Kataklysm. To see what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link.)
Alright! Now that we’re finally getting back to this, it’s time to wrap it up with the final two albums in Kataklysm’s present discography. Prevail and Heavens Venom are albums that, until this point, I never even listened to, but about which I always heard extremely mixed opinions.
Starting with Prevail, this was pretty much an attempt to recapture what Kataklysm had channeled on In the Arms of Devastation. I don’t blame them, because that album was definitely the best work of their modern era. Prevail is not as impenetrably unstoppable as In the Arms…, however it is still an extremely solid, excellent piece of work. I really love the opening song (title track) especially; it’s full of bulldozing groove and surging power.
The problem is, this album is obviously trying to cash in on the mark its predecessor left. The songwriting is as solid and MOST of the songs are as good, but this album suffers from a couple of draggers that really harm the consistency factor. That’s a flaw this album couldn’t afford, given that In the Arms… was a perfect record, insofar as their current sound is concerned. Songs like “Taking the World by Storm” just feel shamelessly phoned in. Contrasted with trailblazing numbers like “Chains Of Power”, they just feel a bit off as you listen.
Heavens Venom, on the other hand, is a bit different. After the opener “A Soulless God” begins with a REALLY HOKEY CHEESY UNNECESSARY HORRIBLE PARAPHRASE of Sylvester Stallone’s touching monologue in Rocky 6 (this part makes me scratch my head and feel dirty), the music makes a much thrashier direction more apparent.
Despite the attempt at a faster, more feral approach though, Heavens Venom just doesn’t have the oomph going for it. Ironically, the only time that this album shines is in the pure melodeath moments, such as the midsection of the aforementioned opening track. I’d almost go so far as to say it sounds like they’re trying too hard on this album, and unfortunately it shows.
Well, we’ve hit the end of the Kataklysm discography as it stands. Look out for my summary/conclusion piece soon; in the meantime I want to see suggestions for doing this kind of thing with other bands. Give me ideas.