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'Of Ghosts And Gods'
(Nuclear Blast Records)

jools green

Jools Green

shroud of despondency

Canadian death Metal veterans Kataklysm return with another dose of their "Northern Hyperblast", with full length number twelve. As a band they have sometimes been a bit hit and miss for me but I was seriously enamoured with 2013s 'Waiting For The End To Come' and was interested to see how 'Of Ghosts And Gods' compared.

'Of Ghosts And Gods' is a ten track offering that begins with 'Breaching The Asylum' which after a sound-bite opener breaks into an epic build, panning out into riffs that have a decidedly punchy Swedish flavour. The ensuing melody is catchy, with the anticipated pummelling drum work from Olivier Beaudoin fully arriving in the second half.

'The Black Sheep' opens well with a haunting thick groove and the subsequent melody is suitably dark, with sudden surprising tempo and direction switching and a good dose of blasting drum work scattered appropriately throughout. I liked the classic spoken line: "In this world you better live for something or your gonna die for nothing!" OK, it's clichéd but works so well and there's a good closing repeat, making it one of my standout tracks.

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'Marching Through Graveyards' has an utterly blasting opener and is the kind of track I think of when I think of Kataklysm, galloping riffing, pummelling drums and delightfully in your face vocals but with a subtle melody keeping it listenable. It drops briefly midway but builds again in a sinister smouldering manner.

'Thy Serpents Tongue' is slow and sinister to open with a rapid build, levelling out into a dark plodding groove that does rise and fall with the melody fading in and out, making it nicely varied and therefore an interesting listen.

'Vindication' has one of those great intros that seems to rush at you as it builds, some of the best drum work of the album to be found here, a track that is at times an utter fest of blastbeats on the faster sections.

'Soul Destroyer' has a powerfull opening that's full of strong intention, a good brutal edged groove that continues to pan out well and the vocals are great also, with plenty of powerful roaring, a very catchy track, again with that Swedish slant, with a chorus that will go down well live. You won't be able to resist joining in, along with a bit of sky punching thrown into the mix.

'Carrying Crosses' is a crushingly moody track with large doses of blastbeats throughout; a dark, haunting, repeated melody and some great riffing particularly in the second half and brilliantly berserk drumming to close while 'Shattered' is wonderfully dark to open with building drum work and sultry chugging riffs, generally delivered at a slower pace but there is a lot of precision and deliberate intent there, an understatedly powerful offering with Maurizio starting to show more fully what he is capable of vocally.

On 'Hate Spirit' Maurizio breaks out the vitriolic vocals just before midway really pushing his ample vocal capabilities well on this track and they sit so well alongside his deeper more brutal growling and the bass lines that pop up just after are pretty sexy and sit well between the punchy riffs.

There is bit of a different feel to final the track 'The World Is A Dying Insect', a haunting reflective opener, a very dark outlook but with great riffs that, at times, just seem to spiral and are contrasted with sombre lead work. The drums reach crazy proportions at times and there is a haunting dark drop-away midway that builds back up beautifully before a sudden direction and tempo change that is a bit of a head turner.

I do like 'Of Ghosts And Gods' but not quite sure yet if I like it as much as I liked 'Waiting For The End To Come', or 2008s excellent album 'Prevail'. Only future listens will answer that question, there are a few tracks that are already growing on me big time and it's a ballsy offering once again that certainly shouldn't disappoint their hardcore fans.

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