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Kataklysm ‎– Serenity In Fire - Pic.Disc -LP

€17.90

"Serenity In Fire" is the album when Kataklysm first fully divided their fanbase. The change in sound was evident a couple of albums prior to this, but this is the one where insane drumming and groove metal overtook technicality and off-kilter songwriting. This album is more clinical, precise and single-minded than any previous Kataklysm release. Personally I like this album but I can understand the drawbacks to it.

I'll start with a criticism: this album is quite samey. When the drumming is constantly at full speed, there's only so many variations on the same drum pattern that you can come up with. That being said, the drumming is unreal. Martin Maurais only played on this album for the band, but he somehow out-drummed Max Duhamel's performances before this, also bringing the gravity blast technique to the band (which Max had to learn upon his return). I can't understate the drumming on this album, unbelievably fast bass drum rolls, gravity blasts and lightning fast fills dominate most songs. "Blood On the Swans" is quite simply ridiculous. If all consuming drums are not your thing, walk away now!

The riffs are generally in the realm of groove metal as opposed to the more technical fare of earlier albums, I wouldn't necessarily say this sounds like Pantera or Machine Head, perhaps more in the vein of more modern Cannibal Corpse. Sometimes the riffs breakaway into something different, for example "Under The Bleeding Sun" boasts an epic tremolo riff. Fans of tech death won't get this, but if you want to headbang like a loon then this album provides 38 minutes of neck snapping intensity. Just don't expect to hear much of the bass guitar as it is washed out under the groove of the guitar tone and the immense drumming.

Maurizio's vocals are business as usual. His gruff yet clear bark is distinctive and convincing, even if the lyrics are more than a little cheesy. He occasionally also still does his high pitched yelp that is very divisive, you either hate it or think it's brilliant. Nice variety either way. As I mentioned, the lyrics aren't great ("As I Slither", "Ambassador of Pain" being particularly cheesy) yet they are dumb enough to make you sing along to them. It's not as if death metal is generally an area for thought-provoking lyrics so I wouldn't say it overly detracts from the album.

Overall, this is a hyperblasting groovy death metal album, it's fairly short and it offers plenty of headbanging moments. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone expecting crazy technicality, deep lyrics or progressive songwriting. The artwork, logo and title should tell you that this is a no-frills DM album that simply turns up and rips your face off! If you like intense, simplistic death metal that makes you bang your head then this is the album for you.