Kataklysm – Meditations (Album Review)

Traditional methods are often forgotten in such a technologically advanced world, but sometimes they prove to be the most honorable and honest way to create music. Such is the case with Meditations, the latest album from Canada’s Extreme Metal band Kataklysm.

Due out on Friday, June 1, 2018 through Nuclear Blast, Meditations was produced by the band’s own Guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais and Drummer Oli Beaudoin while being mixed by Jay Ruston who has worked with everyone from Stone Sour to Avatar. Why is this all important? Because the process behind Meditations is what makes it what it is.

Vocalist Maurizio Iacono and Bassist Stephane Barbe joined Dagenais and Beaudoin in the same room to record the album as a collective group, a method they have not worked with in quite some time. On the mark with their previous studio album, 2015’sOf Ghosts and Gods, does the return to more traditional recording/songwriting techniques benefit the veteran band?

Before going any further, Kataklysm in general is usually described as a Death Metal band, but there is much more going on in their music, and it changes from album to album. Marking their 13th studio record in an impressive, consistent 25 plus year career, Meditation keeps the heavy growling Melodic Death Metal vocal stylings while imposing some rapid fire guitar riffs with heavy groove-driven bass and spurts of hyper b lasting beats. This extreme approach carries the torch through thick and thin into the deep waters of the angry sound that acquires freedom through destruction.

Ten tracks in total, it launches up close and personal with the rapid fire of “Guillotine” before crashing into the captured cries and rage of “Outsider.” A potent start, “Outsider” would be a great choice for a live setting because it is blessed with angst that would surely break out a brutally good mosh pit. Moving on, the creative styling and progressive speed up of “The Last Breath I’ll Take Is Yours” ironically leave a solid breathing ground for the listener. Arguably, it is here the Thrash and Melodic Death Metal mix works at its finest.

Solid and potent, “Narcissist” bodes well as a single, but even still, is not the best offering off Meditations, leaving you hanging after its brief two and a half minute length. Furthermore, the crafty title of the song “Born To Kill And Destined To Die” soars deep into the consciousness of its audience. Grasping at the dark roots of desire and pulling their hidden secrets out the other side, it does so all while shelling out some enjoyable, tightly wound riffs. That said, “In Limbic Resonance” may be the best mind-bender of all with its groove-driven mystery and mayhem.

Moving on to the guttural echoing core and essence of the reality brought about Meditations, the tune “What Doesn’t Break Doesn’t Heal” offers an intense journey through the struggles of man, even in times of greatest effort. Then, picking up the caboose with the album’s longest and most melodic slow song is “Achilles Heel.” Starting and ending with Melodic Death Metal styling, it then turns a bit toward old school Death Metal midway through, packing a punch like a wolf tearing through its prey.

All this in mind, anyone who has paid attention are aware that since the early ’90s this band has held its own reigns, solidly trudging on with great power and confidence. Through changing times, Kataklysm carry the torch, once again finding themselves with a well-thought-out and well-organized album of the perfect length that will capture the mind of their fans. Warping your mind, Meditations is definitely an album that takes you into the deepest state of mind and captures your soul only to spit it out with more confidence and ambition than it had going in. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Meditations 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Meditations:

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