Waiting For The End To Come
28 October 2013
by Pete Long
If nothing else has been learnt from Kataklysm’s 22 years and ten studio albums to date, apart from the fact that they’re really good when they’re in the mood, it’s that they’re not adverse to the odd stylistic change or experiment. It seems appropriate therefore that Waiting For The End To Come sounds a little like a split album. Montreal’s finest (sorry, Cryptopsy) clearly have a lot of different ideas about what could make a good death metal album and this time, they’re using all of them at once.
Opener ‘Fire’ is unusual in that it doesn’t start with a movie clip, but otherwise it is a sterling example of Northern Hyperblast. There’s a smattering of melody that doesn’t detract from the aggression and it is propelled – nay, led – by a man who’s less playing the drums than attacking them in an incredibly disciplined red mist. New stickman Oli Beaudoin has done a very able job of filling some big shoes. He and the rest of the band, in particular frontman Maurizio Iacono, seem to be working their way through some serious anger in the first four tracks. These songs would fit on any Kataklysm album and the feral groove of ‘Like Animals’ is a particular highlight. Then things change.
‘Under Lawless Skies’ is a downbeat number, slower and more melodic; ‘Dead& Buried’ is similarly tinged with melancholy. These songs feel like a mix of metalcore and Scandinavia – a fair bit of Amon Amarth, a touch of Insomnium, maybe some early Gothenburg. These words are not spoken in criticism. They are great songs. But the shift in mood is sudden to say the least and, at first, jarring. There’s another stylistic change with ‘Real Blood – Real Scars’ and ‘The Promise’, being more straight death metal with a touch of groove. Sadly, they feel like filler compared to the rest of the album, which might say more about WFTETC than it does about these songs.
Then there is ‘Elevate’. The introduction is frankly beautiful and also pure melodeath. Everything fits as the song flits between snarling defiance and the mournful chorus, where Iacono screams “I won’t let you take me down” over that opening riff. It is a fitting end to an album with many disparate elements, showing just how well Kataklysm can nail them.
WFTETC will probably split opinions simply because of the number of different things Kataklysm have tried to do. That shouldn’t detract from the songs themselves though. Yes, there are some weaker tracks, but they are overwhelmed by some very impressive numbers indeed. Embrace the bipolar nature of this release and it verges on greatness.
Sounds Like: Shadows and Dust-era Kataklysm collaborating with a young Swedish melodeath band that really likes Kataklysm
Standout Tracks: Fire, Like Animals, Elevate