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Review: Kataklysm - Serenity In Fire
Serenity In Fire

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 38:28
Tracks: 10
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4.85/5

Review online: April 25, 2004
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
Readers Rating
Serenity In Fire

Rated 4.17/5 (83.33%) (24 Votes)

About a month ago, I heard some legendary stories about a veteran Canadian death metal band that has recently recruited a drummer that can take on 10 Dave Lombardos with one hand tied behind his back. Once he is through with them, the Lombardos would hang themselves in humiliation! Although I knew this is a gross exaggeration, one cannot forget something like that. Especially if you are a drumming fan and think Lombardo is untouchable. Kataklysm are that band that will prove you wrong; owners of the self-coined title and style – "Northern Hyperblast."

What can I say about this disc, aside from it being unbelievable psychotic madness! The drummer really is insane. I've heard vocalists who sound like they are possessed, but never a drummer who can show that. Right from the beginning, anybody can notice the sheer speed and brute force the drums come pounding at you with! If Lombardo's quick and technical drumming reminds you of an army of horses charging at you at full velocity, this guy's work makes Lombardo's speed look like a group of fairies hopping ever so gradually and elegantly towards Peter Pan!

At first I did not believe this was a human being behind the drums. But apparently, Martin Maurias, the man on the drums, really is playing this stuff and is not assisted by any computerized or triggered drumming. It sounds like a machine gun mercilessly emptying round after round of ammo into your chest while you have your eyes closed and arms spread wide open. This guy should be called the MACHINE GUNNER and it would be a crime to hold him in the same light as any other "drummer" out there. From now on, Maurias is the basis for comparison when it comes to blast beats and full-throttle drumming. I checked around to see if there are death or black metal acts out there that can do this (as my knowledge of these genres is quite weak) but surprise, surprise…I was right! There is only one machine gunner like this in the world and he is Martin Maurias – the man who can pound a drum set faster than an AK-47 can fire bullets.

As for everything else…The vocals are fairly mid-paced as are the guitars. But that doesn't mean it brings the album down; far from it. Mixing the blast-beats with relatively mid-paced vocals actually sounds killer. Throw in a little bit of melody here and there, and you've got some serious death metal that begs you not to like it so much. Everything about this album is stellar. The razor sharp riffs and guttural vocals will pierce through you like a hacksaw through butter. You don't stand a chance…so just give in and appreciate it! It is obvious that the rest of the band can't keep up with the drumming, so what Kataklysm have done here is that they throw in magnificent tempo changes every now and then that unleashes an unforgiving assault on your ears and then return back to mid-tempo, leaving you thirsty for more blood every time!

Killer cuts include "The Resurrected", the catchy & Arch Enemyesque "As I Slither", the inhuman "For All Our Sins", "10 Seconds From The End" and of course, the track where the machine gunner claims undisputed ownership of the drumming world – "Blood On The Swans". Other than the drumming, there is nothing ground breaking on this album besides being really, really good.

It is still fairly early on in 2004, but I think we have a serious competitor for album of the year already. Overall, a stellar release that will defy you not to get involved in it right at first listen, as some of the songs are actually catchy while others leave you pushed back with your fists clenched and a rattling noise in your head long after you're done having your ass brutally kicked!

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