Shadows & Dust
Review by Luka on January 20, 2003.
Trying to stand out in the swarm of death metal acts today can be a grueling task but for Canada's underground heroes Kataklysm the competition is just another reason to push their musical expertise to new levels. This album had me hooked from the very beginning and delivered just the kind of brutal pummeling I'd expect from such seasoned veterans. This is an ugly, modern incarnation of death metal. Not being a huge fan of the style in general, my very narrow list of favorable bands has nevertheless grown.
The first thing that grabbed my attention about "Shadows and Dust" was the superb production and mixing job. The instruments come together in the right way to carry a strong groove and create that "destructive" feeling, while at the same time allowing reasonable clarity for the tight guitar-work and precise drumming. The complex arrangements are more accessible with a clear sound quality that lets through a fair amount of secluded guitar harmony. Modern sound technology seems to be finally catching up with the complexity of death metal as you can appreciate multiple instrument layers whilst ear-ravaging blastbeats pound like they're going to crack your skull in two; it's absolutely great!
Another noticeable and crucial strength of "Shadows and Dust" is the arrangement. The majority of death metal bands have the gift of being able to put you to sleep with their down-tuned, grumbling, confusing music and dull arrangements, but Kataklysm’s songs rumble with energy and life. New riffs and verses catch you off guard and the arrangement is laden with unseen surprises, proving that good arrangements are the key to good death metal. This is one of the least boring death metal albums I've heard in a while! We need more of this. Horns up!
Bottom Line: Kataklysm clearly stand among death metal's wide elite circle. ”Shadows and Dust” is a very solid release.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 7.8 out of 10