Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kataklysm - Temple of Knowledge [Kataklysm Part III] (1996)

I remember hearing about Kataklysm around the time Sorcery was released. I believe it was an ad for that album probably on the back cover of an old issue of Metal Maniacs. This would've been around '95 and that was, for me, probably the dreariest year for death metal as far as bands breaking up or changing styles was concerned. I remember not being terribly impressed by Sorcery and pretty much wrote the band off.

A few years later, at the behest of my guitarist/Kataklysm nut, I gave in and checked out the band's sophomore LP, Temple of Knowledge.

I could tell this wasn't bad but there was still something that I wasn't quite feeling. It was almost like the guitarist would have preferred playing thrash but was being forced to come up with death metal riffs. Either that or the guy went from not knowing how to play a lick to writing songs in a matter of a few hours. I don't mean to imply that the kid couldn't play, but everything just sounded forced. Add to that the insanity (and believe me, I mean INSANITY!!!) of the vocalist and his desire to jam pack his lyrics into every orifice, nook and cranny dealt out by the guitars and finalize it all with an average drummer who is left to somehow make sense of all this, and voila... I give you... Temple of Knowledge!

All in all, this is easily the band's crowning achievement and they've pretty much released a long line of 'blah' since. Nothing terribly bad. Nothing tremendously good. Just... eh. Much of this has to do with the fact that this album was the last to feature the midget, bearded kook-monster himself, Sylvain Houde. I can say, with absolute confidence, that his work on this album is the most insane shit I've ever heard from a death metal vocalist, not to mention his frenetic stage presence. I would have really loved to have heard him in Cryptopsy after Lord Worm had gone about his way. I can only imagine how much better the Mike DiSalvo albums would've sounded had Houde been in control of that ship.

Temple of Knowledge is hardly a "stellar" album and aside from the shock value of Houde's performance there's really nothing here beyond a handful of decent riffs and accompanying blasts.

Exodus - Blood in Blood Out (2014)

When I first heard that the fat, afro-wave Bon Scott wannabe was back in the band (again) I was pretty excited. For one, I've always preferred 'Pleasures...' over 'Bonded...' and two, I thought that he sounded pretty damn good fronting his kid's band, however weird that concept may be.

Well, impact was assuredly imminent and the reunion of Souza and Exodus turned out to be one big crash and fucking burn.

The riffs are a grab-bag of 'ok' mixed in with sonic Xanax and other, various sleep inducing benzos. The main problem with them (and pretty much the album as a whole) is the production. This is quite possibly the worst sounding Exodus album in that regard. Having a "full" sound is normally good, yet, as with everything else in life, there is always the potential to overdo shit and boy did this thing overstay its welcome the oven!

While I thought Souza sounded killer in Hatriot, he sounds downright awful here. Of course the atrociously juvenile lyrics do not help in any way. They may have been cool 30 years ago, written by some hessian teen with a 1/4 ounce of pot tucked away in the pocket of his flannel, but to hear this shit dribbling fourth from a 50 year old goes WAY beyond the realm of comedy and is just plain excruciating to endure.

TRUST me... this is nowhere near as good as the first few Exodus albums. Hell, it aint even as good as Force of Habit! It's just one, gigantic mess written by a bunch of bloated guys who're only a few years away from senior citizen status.