Kataklysm — Heaven’s Venom
Contrary to popular belief, some critics don’t really like slagging an album in print.
The reluctance has little to do with possible repercussions from a label, act or fans. It’s because people who write about metal can appreciate the blood, sweat and tears a band invests into each project—especially when recorded music is slowly becoming less of a money maker than touring or merch. Even if the style doesn’t suit your personal taste, it doesn’t keep you from recognizing good tunes when you hear them.
Kataklysm’s “Heaven’s Venom” has some good tunes. Tunes that can steamroll a lot of other albums flat. But despite the confident, pummeling delivery that runs nonstop for about 45 minutes, they are not great ones. No matter how deservedly confident the band is in its performance—and the quartet can riff for days with ease—the lack of innovative songwriting here is too much of a downfall to overcome.
While opener “A Soulless God” sports a competent guitar solo from Jean-Francois Dagenais and some righteously lockstep beats that seamlessly cross over into the foot-stomping “Determined (Vows of Vengeance),” the album becomes maddeningly linear after the forth of fifth track. There’s only so much chuga-chuga-chuga riffing and Max Duhamel’s machine-gun death beats and one can take without little break in key, tone, tempo or hook. Vocalist Maurizio Iacono doesn’t help the cause either with his one-growl that never changes course until final track “Blind Savior,” where he adopts a devious screech for his finale.
Aside from the aforementioned highlights from the first two tracks, “Faith Made of Shrapnel,” whose shredding licks do the title justice, and “Push the Venom” also deserve a few listens. But your money will be better spent on an Ozzfest ticket, where you can see Kataklysm perform more of its catalog than what “Heaven’s Venom” has to offer.
by Christa Titus