Review: In the cycle of advancement that takes blasting death metal further than it has existed before, no barrier comes so close to choking the music as that of opposition, meaning the passages within the music based on their own conflict which, so essential to the maintenance of the rhythmic tension transferred in straight speed, drives also their own demise from baffling themselves against each other, a powerful metaphor for human destruction.
With drums that play broken-phrase drumming alternating between death metal style double-hit jazz percussion, the counterpoint balance in each song is heavily driven toward the narrative as unifying element as tempo changes and beat changes vary too frenetically to track anything except the modification of the riff and verse dynamics. Vocals of throat torture and intense bass power propel the agenda over the maniac thrashing with a delivery of precise, Suffocation-style fixtures alongside almost black metal ripping open-mouth howling; guitars unleash their precision on variations of basic, even simplistic counterpoint riffing, but find a method of transferring the simple direction to an enlightened complement of drums; together vocals leading guitars leading drums the narrative is told, based on the highly-imaginative lyrics set in epic fantasies of unmodern times.
1. Frozen in Time
(Chapter I - Will of Suicide - )
2. Mystical Plane of Evil
(Chapter II - Enigma of the Unknown - )
3. Shrine of Life
(Chapter III - Reborn Through Death - )
The paradox of Kataklysm is their strength of innovation; bold and powerful it exists in their creation of complex and aggressive songs from nothing, but shy and callow it is missing in some of the obvious harmonic progressions or meaningless dynamic note allocation that occurs; in other words, this music bows out of some of what it could use to make itself great, and consequently is somewhat cheesy and often resembles rock music through its similarity. These degradations however do nothing at all to diminish the sheer spirited enjoyment of this album for its maintenance of complexity within an acclaimedly brutal tempo, and only highlight how powerful the essence of this death metal hybrid can be.
Review: After emerging onto the scene with muddied and confused by often brilliantly violent compositions Kataklysm threw themselves into a newer version of this style with their previous album, but fail to top it with the successor despite throwing in all of the right pieces. On this new album more of the abrupt tempo changes and riff inversions occur with clarity of precision and intent as melody works its way slyly into passages between structural cornerstones. The resulting mixture provides an advanced version of their previous works and a more concentrated nexus of complexity, but this only serves to highlight the overall lack of compositional integration and the consequent narrative nature of these complex riff and tempo progressions.
Blasting beats will often collide theatrically with passages of standard "technical death metal" double-hit rock drumming and other offset rhythmic detours, often including surgical fills and brutally clipped, rippingly fast punctuation. Harmonically most of this material remains at the power chord level but the careful accentuation of melody and selective note tremelo enhancement builds greater tension in these riffs than might be imagined but the numerous variations that then occur have much less direction than previous versions the music from Kataklysm, being much more generic in their search to elude meaning not elucidate it.
The Transenflamed Memories
1. The Unholy Signature
2. Beckoning of the Xul
3. Point of Evanescence
Through the Core of the Damned
4. Fathers from the Suns
5. Enhanced by the Lore
6. In Parallel Horizons
Era of the Aquarius
7. The Awakener
8. Maelstrom 2010
9. Exode of Evils
Lead guitars are sparse and non-intrusive for the most part because of the intense rhythm behind this music that makes the granularity of guitar solos dwarfed by the vocal rhythm and drumbeat framework that make so much of it work despite compositional discontiguity. Tragically the core of most of this rhythm work hides in the cheesy, overstated and demonstrative phrasing of older stylers of metal bands readdressed in the more active percussion of newer death metal styles. Even the savage power that holds most of the force behind each phrase of combined rhythms, the vocals, have a processed sound and an overstated delivery that saps much of their credibility.
Despite these failings "Temple of Knowledge" is stronger than the average current death metal release for sheer energy and enough musical absorption to keep tension high during the blast and relapse cycles of extreme expenditure.