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Kataklysm is one of those rare bands that haven’t really released a bad album.
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Their sound and outlook has gradually shifted over the decades, splitting some opinions and maybe losing them a few fans on the way, but fourteen albums in, Unconquered maintains their reputation for quality.
Fans of their older excursions may be well appeased by a track like Defiant, but what becomes very apparent as The Killshot explodes out of a dark minor-key intro is that Kataklysm have solidly embraced a particularly modern style. J-F Dagenais has implemented a djenty feel to his riffing that adds weight to his bottom end and increases the bounce and groove of the band’s relentless arsenal.
On Unconquered, Kataklysm make it sound like they’ve been doing this caper all along and the rediscovered aggression might even reel back in some of those who thought they had abandoned it a few albums ago.
Just the mention of that “d” word might give some pause for alarm but make no mistake – Unconquered is as crushing and violent as Kataklysm has long been. Cut Me Down highlights the melodic side they’ve shown across a few albums now, but their new approach heightens the groove aspect of tracks such as Underneath the Scars with its huge breakdowns and Focused to Destroy You, giving the rhythmic attack a further dimension. Further, the last two songs exhibit even more of a break from Kataklysm’s signature sound with a sombre, dark melancholy while losing none of their heaviness. Less experienced bands have attempted this kind of dynamic shift and made a meal of it. On Unconquered, Kataklysm make it sound like they’ve been doing this caper all along and the rediscovered aggression might even reel back in some of those who thought they had abandoned it a few albums ago.
STANDOUT TRACKS: The Killshot, Defiant, Icarus Falling
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Hypocrisy, Krisiun, Amon Amarth