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KATAKLYSM Unconquered

By Nathan Dufour, Great White North
Thursday, September 10, 2020 @ 12:36 AM


- advertisement -
KATAKLYSM
Unconquered

2020, Nuclear Blast




As reliable as winter in Canada, KATAKLYSM return with another edition of the Northern Hyperblast. It’s not another magazine subscription.

At this point in the game, KATAKLYSM need no introduction, with 2021 marking their 30th year of existence and, also, domination. Simply put, the KATAKLYSM machine has been on an upward trajectory since the very beginning, offering something wholly unique and distinctly Canadian within the larger metalsphere. With new album Unconquered, the band has successfully passed through the mystical gate of reincarnation. Bow before their temple of knowledge.

No voiceover to start things off and an acoustic intro to lead track and single “The Killshot” showcases a new side of KATAKLYSM, a spreading of wings and larger incorporation of varied and various influences that inform the band’s sound. I mean, the gargoyle thing is back on the album cover (does it have a name?!) and looks pretty pissed. The years have not dulled J-F Dagenais’ ability to write a riff - the main one here will be stuck in your head for days.

Unconquered is easily representative of not only the history of KATAKLYSM, but also pulls from the band’s alter-ego, EX-DEO. Digging deep into the instrumentation, not only does the listener find subtle electronic flourishes and orchestral underpinnings but also a swelling, throbbing, urgent sense of melody. Each track could easily stand on its own as a promotional vehicle to sell this album due to the varied nature of its composition. I mean, “Underneath the Scars” is destined to be a live staple, and “The Way Back Home” is a shining example of that melody I was just talking about. Iacono’s vocals are perhaps the most focused they’ve ever been on album, taking time to fully enunciate - you really feel like he’s screaming right to you. It’s a special feeling. “Defiant” is a finely tuned riff ‘n’ blast fest, KATAKLYSM showing those who may have doubted just what Northern Hyperblast means.

Towards the end, then, we must all go. Piano greets us along with a truly epic feel to “Icarus Falling”. The bass really carries this song, plunking merrily along before those guitars bludgeon the listener at the midsection and onwards, taking on an almost djent quality.

Unconquered hints at potential for further growth from KATAKLYSM within the world that they alone occupy. It is at once a familiar and new listening experience and one that will provide greater returns for both the band and its fans. They certainly picked a good title. Oh, and the cover art is excellent. I still wanna know the name of the gargoyle.

4.5 Out Of 5.0


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