Kataklysm - _Waiting For the End to Come_
(Nuclear Blast, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (4 out of 10)
With ten full-length albums under their ageing belts, not to mention a live album, a couple of EPs and a couple of DVDs released throughout a lengthy career, French Canadians Kataklysm are now in their third decade as a band. Their latest offering is the inarticulately titled eleventh studio album _Waiting For the End to Come_ which comes with a very safe forty-five minute duration and an entirely unsurprising collection of ideas, riffs and song titles; even the cover art is below par. The mutant beast with wings and sharp fangs that adorned the last three album covers is gone and has been replaced with a largely repetitive depiction of the widespread destruction of human civilization, a grim reaper with blood-drenched lips and a naked baby walking towards him; quite generic if you ask me.

With arguably the least amount of time ever spent in naming a song, "Fire" gets the album underway. This is the first of many occasions on this record that the guitar tones come with very little distinction between them, to the extent that the riffs sound like one big nasty, endless wave of distortion. Four tracks later, the guitar output finally gets better with "Under Lawless Skies" with its typical energetic Kataklysm riffing, and "Dead & Buried" with its exciting and varied riff and smart yet slightly over-used harmonics. As the album progresses through, this stride is not maintained at all. The first couple of minutes on "Real Blood, Real Scar" need to be played 50% faster because it's just sounds too sloppy at that tempo. More importantly, because "The Promise" which comes right after it is another mid-tempo affair which means a dragging effect that extends over about nine minutes; that's 20% of the album. Sounds like rudimentary mathematics and generic death metal don't produce great results.

Behind the cyclic vocals and the inconsistent riffs is a new, albeit temporary, face on the Kataklysm drum throne. Olivier Beaudoin from Neuraxis is temporarily filling in for long time drummer Max Duhamel, who is in a rehabilitation facility due to suffering from alcohol abuse issues. This of course means a shift in the 'gravity blast' balance. Many fans credit Max with actually inventing the technique of letting the stick bounce off the snare rim to effectively multiply the number of hand strokes by two, which is commonly known as a gravity blast. Regardless of the truthfulness of such claims, Max Duhamel is indeed a wizard with gravity blasts, but Olivier Beaudoin can and does perform them on several occasions; namely on "Kill the Elite", "If I Was God... I'd Burn it All" and "Empire of Dirt". He's also added his more complex touch to the drums on this record, especially on "The Promise" and "The Darkest Days of Slumber".

A good drummer however does not make a weak album any stronger. Despite his undoubted technical prowess, Olivier just couldn't elevate _Waiting for the End to Come_. This is an album that unfortunately sounds like a Kataklysm losing steam and attempting to rely on their twenty year old name to sell a below-average album. All wishes for a speedy recovery and a triumphant return to the drum throne go to Max Duhamel and maybe, just maybe, his emotional return to his rightful place will trigger a cathartic reaction that will push Maurizio, Jean-Fran├žois and Stephane to challenge themselves better in the future. But as things stand now, Kataklysm's latest effort lacks the raw energy and ferociousness to prove itself as a good album.

Contact: kataklysm1@gmail.com

(article published 10/11/2013)

1/25/2004 J Smit 5 Kataklysm - Serenity in Fire
3/16/2003 X Hoose 9 Kataklysm - Shadows & Dust
10/1/1998 P Schwarz 6.5 Kataklysm - Victims of This Fallen World
8/12/1996 A Bromley 9 Kataklysm - Temple Of Knowledge (Kataklysm Part III)
5/7/2004 J Smit Cannibal Corpse / Kataklysm / Gorerotted All Murder, All Guts, All Fun
9/1/1998 P Schwarz Brutal Truth / Kataklysm / Solus / The Swarm True Brutality Under Extreme Conditions
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