• Vince

Kataklysm - Unconquered

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Band: Kataklysm

Album: Unconquered

Genre: Death Metal

Label: Nuclear Blast

Location: Montreal, Canada

FFO: Vader, Deicide, Bloodbath

Kataklysm is a class act in the Death Metal scene. They’ve been making the most aggressive music they can for 30 years now, and are still pushing stronger than ever. Something else stronger than ever is the production. They come through with a nice thick, well rounded sound, while still keeping that roughness you know and love. The guitar work is my favorite aspect to this sound as it tends to be when it comes to Kataklysm’s work.

‘Unconquered’ blasts into the beginning with the single ‘Killshot’. A perfect opening that has a very destructive tone to it. If there was any question of “I wonder if these guys still got it”, they prove the answer to that obvious right away. This pace keeps up with the following songs and throughout the album. Everyone's energy is matched in order to bring the full force of what they have to offer. The spiteful lyrics are spit out like venom as viciously as the music is played. Themes of exactly what the title is trying to tell you, Kataklysm can not be conquered. It’s songs like ‘Underneath the Scars’ that brings a showcase of what they offer. A chorus to get lost in, a guitar tone to fall in love with, drums to move to, and an ending that will ultimately end up absolutely destroying you. Even after a beast of a song like that though, there is at no point a sign of slowing down. Those dirty low rhythms continue to crank out into the next song without having a moment to blink. The vocals hold their own throughout the whole thing as well. A guitar player will always be able to pick up the ax and strum some strings, but to uphold your voice for so long is a talent with mystery to me. The breakdowns and “low and slow” moments were so well constructed and executed from song to song. It allowed me to appreciate those extremely low tuning even more every time. Predictability is very difficult which I love. Nothing is cookie cutter or handed to you on a silver platter. There’s not much in terms of negative comments I have for this record. There were a couple times such as ‘Defiant’ that I wanted/was expecting a very heavy finisher but never got it. ‘Icarus’ was another song that left me somewhat unsatisfied, a good song, it just didn’t fulfill me. For the most part though, I’m very satisfied with everything here. Being those are the two songs before the last, I was getting worried about the wrap up of this album. Up to this point we get a fantastic start, middle that pummels through, but then an ending I was questioning. Alas, the final song comes through as a strong one and finishes everything off adequately. Overall a very well put together and executed LP.

There’s a lot of value and history to Kataklysm’s discography. I couldn’t say what stands where, but I do know ‘Unconquered’ fits perfectly in no matter what you put it up against. The replay value is tremendous, being that it’s under 40 minutes and has those layers of groove, speed, and anger that just can’t be worn off. As I said in the beginning, I gotta stick to the guitars and that tone being my favorite aspect across this album. Perfect for what they are going for.

Kataklysm is one of the few classic Death Metal acts that still has the drive and passion to make awesome music. It’s the passion behind bands like these guys that create great albums like this one that remind me why this is my favorite genre. If there’s anything Kataklysm has done here with their new album, it’s prove to not only themselves but all fans of metal that this music is truly Unconquered.

Rating: 8.5/10

Strongest Song: Underneath the Scars

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7kozeGeawfP7IEEL6dddrM?si=uf6Gjw5nQIabLIEKavtr9A

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/kataklysm/15951546

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