By Carl Begai
Kataklysm has gotten fat. Monstrously fat. And frontman Maurizio Iacono couldn’t be happier.
We are, of course, referring to Kataklysm’s latest slab of violence Of Ghosts And Gods, a thundering, seething fuck off of an album if there ever was one in the band’s catalogue. As melodic death metal goes it has rightfully been tagged as being on par with At The Gates’ stellar comeback, At War With Reality. As a Kataklysm album it has been dubbed their strongest in years, taking into account that the shock and excitement of being nailed to the wall has blown some minds into paste. Either way, the accolades can be attributed to Kataklysm burning whatever tattered rulebook they’ve been using for the last several years, and the addition of producer Andy Sneap (Testament, Accept, Arch Enemy, you name ’em…) to their creative arsenal.
“The reason we went to Andy Sneap to do this is because we thought the combination of him with J-F (Dagenais/guitars, producer) would be great,” Iacono begins. “J-F is a great engineer, but when you do everything yourself sometimes you lose the ability to be 100% on the ball because recording and mixing is such a long process. There are so many details. We wanted someone that has a good name, sure, but we also wanted someone we’re a fan of. We were lucky he even picked us because Andy is in high demand, and he’s turned down some big bands. For him to grab the new Kataklysm record was great.”
If you’re a Sneap fan it comes as no surprise to hear he succeeded in beefing up Kataklysm’s already crushing sound for Of Ghosts And Gods. As a Kataklysm fan you wish he would have jumped on board a few albums earlier once you give the new album a listen or five. Iacono agrees wholeheartedly. Continue reading BraveWords Interview: KATAKLYSM – Bludgeoned By The Black Sheep
By Carl Begai
“When we released In The Arms Of Devastation in 2006 it changed a lot of things for Kataklysm,” says vocalist Maurizio Iacono as an intro to the band’s new slab of hellmetal, Waiting For The End To Come. “It was a big record for us. It was a very melodic record and that took the European market by storm. It was our biggest selling record, and after that we didn’t explore ourselves as musicians as much. I think we took the attitude that ‘This is Kataklysm, this is what we do and we do it well, so we’re going to continue doing that.’ Heaven’s Venom (2010) was a great record for me and I love it, but I think some people heard it and said ‘Yeah, but they’re not dangerous.’ It was the ‘but’ that bothered me. We had the songs, but I realized that people don’t just want the big songs, they want that element of danger.”
Which is why Kataklysm fans are now feasting on arguably the band’s most dangerous album in years. Iacono is humble discussing the achievement, but there’s no mistaking his pride in delivering more than what anyone was expecting at this stage of the game.
“This is the longest stretch we’ve had between albums. It doesn’t seem like it, but it is. It’s been three-and-a-half years going on four. It was one of those things where the record came out and we had time. We decided that we needed to come back with something different and more dangerous because we wanted to make a statement with this record. We didn’t want to come off as if we were coasting, we wanted to surprise people. I think that’s what we did with this record because we changed a lot of things. The production, the artwork… a lot of things are different.”
“It’s an all out attack. Everything that we like, we put it on this record. Kataklysm is a mix of a lot of different influences. Stephane (Barbe/bass) loves black metal, J-F (Dagenais/guitars) loves Iron Maiden, and I love more groove-oriented stuff like Pantera; if you mix all that you’ve got a very unique sound. If people don’t like this record maybe it’s time to think about retirement (laughs). It sounds modern, it sounds fresh, I don’t think there are any bands out there that sound like what we’re doing on this record.” Continue reading BW&BK Interview: KATAKLYSM – Burning Your Soul: “People Want That Element Of Danger”
By Carl Begai
For the record, I love Toronto.
Sure, the public transit system isn’t fit to service Legoland let alone a bustling metropolis, the cost of living has punched a hole through the roof, and we have a mayor with less credibility than your average high school junkie hall monitor, but it’s my home. I was born and bred here, I got my metal skooling during the righteous and never-to-be-repeated Gasworks/Rock N’ Roll Heaven era. Even so, when word came down in 2011 that Hogtown was going to echo Montreal’s highly successful weekend metal festival Heavy MTL – launched in 2008 – with a two day thrash-and-burn open air of its own in Downsview Park, I was skeptical. I had no doubt the organizers would pull things together in order to make it happen, but far less confident it would last more than a single “nice try” run.
Having lived in Germany since the tail end of 1995 as BW&BK’s European correspondent, I’ve attended my share of metal festivals great, good, bad and painfully ugly. Every weekend between May and September the classic metal festival model is put into action somewhere on the continent, attracting rivet-heads from all walks of life by the thousands and tens of thousands for two or three days of distortion and debauchery. It’s this model on which Heavy MTL was based – and succeeded – thanks to the European mentality of the Québécois. I didn’t see Heavy T.O. having the same impact in a city where metalheads are about five steps less committed to getting off the couch when a show hits town (sorry, it’s sad but true).
Heavy T.O.’s 2011 line-up turned out to be a ray of hope. Megadeth, Children Of Bodom, Opeth, Diamond Head, Volbeat, Mastodon, Slayer, Death Angel and Exodus on the same bill? Hard to believe but a European festival had come to town and landed with a bang, featuring a bill more than merely strong enough to drag the metal masses out into the light. By all accounts it was a rousing success beyond the expected and inevitable screw-ups that come with organizing anything for the first time. When the dust had settled it was a done deal: there would be Heavy T.O. 2012, with a legion of fans waiting in the wings brandishing piggybanks in hand when tickets finally went on sale. Continue reading BW&BK Report: Heavy T.O. 2012 – Here’s Mud In Yer Eye!
By Carl Begai
The footage is grainy and distorted, yanked from a decomposing VHS cassette tape, accompanied by audio better suited for a showcase on vacuum cleaners. The focus is on a long-haired punk kid by the name of Max Duhamel sitting behind a drum kit, unleashing an ungodly barrage of blastbeats and fills that should be impossible for someone his age. It’s his first gig as a member of Montreal-based Kataklysm, and a fine example of the band’s “no limits” approach to their career.
Some 20 years later, Duhamel is still raising chaos behind the kit – albeit at a much higher level – celebrating the band’s landmark achievement of lasting this long alongside frontman Maurizio Iacono, guitarist J-F Dagenais and bassist Stephane Barbe with the mother of all metal documentaries, Iron Will: 20 Years Determined.
Truth be told, Iron Will is loaded with so much detail it’s a safe bet that folks completely unfamiliar with Kataklysm would peg the band as playing 20,000 seaters a night and jet-setting at this point of their career. After all, working-class mid-tier artists simply do not release retrospectives this in-depth and extensive. Until now.
“It’s a very detailed and massive release, but I’ll be honest with you, we were worried because it’s so long,” says Iacono. “We were thinking that maybe it was too much, so we went back and forth with (record label) Nuclear Blast and realized that if we cut it, the DVD was going to be like everybody else. We didn’t want to run through it and say ‘The band made it!’ at the end and that was it. This documentary was done for the fans and for ourselves. It’s not made for gaining new fans. If that happens, cool, but that was never the intention.”
“We had to dust off a lot of things to get at that old footage. Especially the footage of our very first practice with me and my mullet (laughs), my cousin Fabio Agostino (guitars), and Ariel Martinez on drums in the basement. You can see the footage is old… ‘90 or ’91; that’s vintage, before Sylvain (Houde/vocals). We weren’t even Kataklysm at that point, we were TSD. My cousin had the footage and it was so old it wasn’t even on a VHS tape, it was on one of those little tapes you put in the VHS tape (laughs). At that time there were no cameras that took normal video tapes, they were about to come out. It was done on a handheld, a bunch of kids thinking they were gonna be rockstars.” Continue reading BW&BK Interview: KATAKLYSM – A Crash Course In Determination
Metal news from the first nation of Hosers. Read on…
Quebec’s northern hyperblast legends Kataklysm released their new documentary DVD, Iron Will: 20 Years Determined last month, and it’s a monster. For anyone who has a band, started a band, tried starting a band and failed, tried starting a band and became Nightwish or Metallica, it’s worth spending the five hours needed to watch the whole thing. One of the best working class band documentaries ever. Seriously. It goes right back to the beginning of Kataklysm’s career, leaves no stone unturned, and shows the band at their best, worst, most embarrassing and most righteously awesome. Even if you don’t get the music, you’ll get the story: dream big, dream loud, screw the naysayers.
The package also comes with the band’s complete 20th Anniversary show from Summer Breeze 2011. Complete details can be found here along with order information. Check out a clip from the live portion of the DVD here. Continue reading Only In Canada, Eh! – July 2012: KATAKLYSM, FRAZE GANG, KOBRA AND THE LOTUS, And A WOODS OF YPRES Tribute Album
Just a quick heads up to keep your weekend more interesting.
For starters, I have an EX DEO story up on a brand new metal site called Metallus Maximus. In case you’ve been living under a rock, EX DEO is a concept-based project kicked-off by KATAKLYSM frontman Maurizio Iacono based on the Roman Empire. The debut album, Romulus, has been getting rave reviews across the board, this site included (check out my review here). My interview with Iacono is worth the read, if I do say so myself 😉 Click here to check it out.
Continue reading EX DEO, Metallus Maximus, BW&BK, KITTIE… And Bee Vomit