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Album Review : Kataklysm : UNCONQUERED

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A fan wrote of this about track 3, Underneath The Scars:  “Angrily dipping my Oreos in milk to this.”  And I can see why.  This is Kataklysm’s 14th studio album. 

Since 1991, this Canadian Death Metal group has won nothing but accolades from their cult following; and in 2015 the band won its first Juno Award for ‘Best Heavy Metal Album of the Year’ for Of Ghosts & Gods

Their most influential song has been In Shadows & Dust; although, I’m pretty sure some of the tracks on Unconquered can go above and beyond what has been expected. 

And since 92’ Nuclear Blast Records has been Kataklysm’s partner in crime helping to showcase 14 studio albums, 1 EP, and 2 DVDs.  

Along the way there have been a few lineup changes and sound differentiations over the years.  It has been noted that they started out being known for their “fast and technical brand of metal”. 

Then the band mixed it up a bit and incorporated a more “groove-oriented and melodic style of death metal” ultimately settling into a thrash metal sound.  So how does this album compare and progress musically from its prior catalog? 

Let’s start at the beginning and analyze.  The Killshot is track 1, which starts out more progressive than death metal and quickly builds a strong foundation with chompy guitar riffs, drum thrashings, and hardcore bass progressions. 

I must admit I was searching for ‘holes’, and I couldn’t find any, at least none worth mentioning.  Cut Me Down is 5 minutes of sheer metal delight with chromatic guitar playing. 

Definitely ‘technical’ to its core with its atypical rhythms and unusual melodies and arrangement.  Underneath The Scars has some pretty interesting tonal fade outs and intricate drum work. 

I can see why they chose this song to make a video, which was released in August 2020.  Just when you think the song is over, it begins again and again.  Oops! The song blended right into Focused To Destroy You.  My bad.  One word:  powerful.  

Strategically placed, track 5, The Way Back Home, changes the album’s scenery to a more ‘syncopated’ soundscape. 

The song is slower but still shows off some smokey downtuned guitar playing.  The song choice is a nice lead in to Stitches, which carries much heavier instrumentals and fine vocals by Maurizio Iacono. 

The lyrics on Unconquered are well-written and still leave me haunted.  When It’s Over chants, “Stricken from the inside/ I can’t let go, the madness overcomes/ Witness my weakness alive/ Everything unfolds, everything falls/ Dear God, I’ve risen for the fallen abandoned, can you…” 

The writer appears to be tormented by life’s sufferings begging for acknowledgment.  It almost seems as if the writer is asking for redemption based on past actions.

Interesting how the album starts with Killshot, which is about retribution for being treated poorly. Throughout the album, the lyrics point to the writer coming from the position of being mentally obliterated and wanting to adjudicate life’s wrongs.

I do wonder if in the end if the writer has come to terms with these troubling situations.  However, not all movies end well; and there are some that leave us with cliffhangers.  Until next time.

GET “UNCONQUERED” Nuclear Blast: http://www.nuclearblast.com/kataklysm… Band Store: https://www.kataklysm.ca/merch-store iTunes: http://nblast.de/KatUnconqueredIT Amazon Music: http://nblast.de/KatUnconqueredAMZ Google Play: http://nblast.de/KatUnconqueredGP

Review by Jordonna Lobese for MPM

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