More than a quarter century in the game, Canadian metal masher KATAKLYSM returns with its 13th album, "Meditations". By now, we've expected KATAKLYSM to be a different unit from the one that recorded the blunt and blazing "Sorcery" and "Temples of Knowledge". Still, could anyone following the band have predicted the directions KATAKLYSM has taken over the years? How about forming an alliance with STONE SOUR and ANTHRAX producer (and fellow Canadian) Jay Ruston? The results of "Meditations" are thus mixed between KATAKLYSM's classic grind-thrash modes and its dutiful search for a higher purpose through progression.
"Guillotine" rushes forth with recent addition Oli Beaudoin laying down a massive set of Northern Hyperblasts to what becomes a prototype thrasher. The pleasant surprise comes one track later with the ass-tearing hardcore jam, "Outsider", and later, "Born To Kill And Destined To Die". KATAKLYSM pounds the hell out of every line of these snot-flung tracks with muscular beats and riffs, along with Maurizio Iacono's gruff bellowing. Not your average hardcore numbers, the guitar solos that Jean-François Dagenais peels into these suckers are serious difference makers.
It takes a bit for "The Last Breath I'll Take Is Yours" to rev up, but once it does, KATAKLYSM summons all hell behind it, inclusive of Jean-Francois Dagenais's tumbling chords. While KATAKLYSM has never once slouched in heaviness over the years while seeking a more progressive route—staked on this album to best effect on "Narcissist", "Achilles Heel" and "What Doesn't Break Doesn't Heal", to its least with "And Then I Saw Blood"—the ridonkulously fast "In Limbic Resonance" will activate audile woodies amongst the group's original fan base.
There's a slight anticlimactic feeling with the momentum-skidding "…And Then I Saw Blood" and "What Doesn't Break Doesn't Heal" behind the overpowering avalanche of "In Limbic Resonance", but the speed returns with "Bend The Arc, Cut The Cord". It's well-needed, since "Meditations" finishes with the slow and brooding "Achilles Heel". If there's any gripe to be had with this album, it's a general lack of punch to round out a bunch of great performances prior to.
"In Limbic Resonance", though...wow...