"Heaven's Venom"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Kataklysm continue to frustrate me because I know they are capable of a lot more than they are showing on their recent records. Yet still there are enough flashes of greatness to keep you locked in to what they are doing. "Heaven's Venom" may be the most perplexing Kataklysm yet, because they are locked in the same "death metal lite" groove they've been, yet this is a heavier and more aggressive album than their previous record, "Prevail".

Granted, that's not too hard, because "Prevail" has been the blandest and most shined up Kataklysm so far. "Heaven's Venom" has more oomph to it but still seems like it was made on an assembly line. The first track "A Soulless God" is the band's latest attempt to do a new version of the title track from "Shadows and Dust", even beginning with a similar mush-mouthed pep talk sampled from a movie. The song is heavy, rough and anthemic, but "Shadows and Dust" was friggin' YEARS AGO! How long can you keep mining the same vein? And the rest follows closely behind.

There is a tougher, angrier feeling than on "Prevail", but I still have the feeling everything is kept in check. Both "Numb and Intoxicated" and "At The Edge of the World" have some very cool melodies woven into the hammering attack, but those are followed up with a bland "Suicide River" and a dreary, dragging "Blind Saviour".

"Prevail" was one step forward, two steps backward. "Heaven's Venom" is one step forward and to the side. I guess we can call it progress...