Kataklysm Epic (The Poetry Of War)

Another year and another great Kataklysm album. This time around, Canada's masters of obscenely unique and frantic grindcore take the sound of their last album and rid themselves of the horrid production and drum sound to create an album that takes grindcore and death metal for a weird, inverted, frozen Canuck roller coaster ride, and it actually sounds like humans making the noise at hand. For the uninitiated, Quebec's finest take the extreme speed of grindcore and death metal and add a lot of catchy grooves, layers of varying vocal styles and disturbing, almost emotionally intense melody for a style all their own. They are probably the only metal band that sounds like no one else and have no bands trying to sound like them. Drummer Max Duhamel is one of the finest drummers in metal, effortlessly whipping out blast-beats (see them live, his hands are nothing but a blur) and switching up a groove that keeps the whole band in check. Song titles and themes become as convoluted as can be, bitter prose and a whole lot of brackets (they've toned those down a bit, don't worry), which goes along nicely with the confusing, intense and creepy music. The only complaint comes with vocalist Maurizio's high-pitched, "elf being choked" vocals; every time he starts doing those the vibe gets thrown back a bit and some of the intensity gets lost somehow, plus they sound sort of funny. The songs don't have the immediate impact of those found on Kataklysm's last album, but this is still a huge album in terms of unique, real and relevant metal. (Nuclear Blast)