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kataklysm unconquered
Artist: Kataklysm
Title: Unconquered
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: 25th September 2020
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Album Review

For almost 30 years, KATAKLYSM has existed in an occupation that could not be more stable. After ‘Meditations’ (2018), the Canadians now release their 14th studio album with ‘Unconquered’. Especially ‘Meditations’ had recently raised hopes that KATAKLYSM would open a new chapter in their history - the songs there were refreshingly versatile and dynamic. Will ‘Unconquered’ be just as good as its predecessor or can this work not hold a candle to the latter?

If you look at the cover of the new work, you will notice the black, double-faced stone demon on a virgin white background. Alone here the listeners expect material with solid compositions. Apart from the two opening tracks ‘The Killshot’ and ‘Cut Me Down’ with their outspoken attacks and concise riffs, which are led by a very dynamic middle tempo, the rest of the album unfortunately lacks relief. Especially the opener ‘The Killshot’ is a prime example for the KATAKLYSM average song: Some groove, some tempo, mixed with breathtakingly kicked double ace, which you can almost only perceive as noise, and Maurizio Iacono’s unmistakable - but unfortunately not very varied - vocals result in exactly the kind of song for which you appreciate KATAKLYSM, but also know them. In ‘Cut Me Down’ KATAKLYSM give it a little bit more power, while ‘Underneath The Scars’ has a bit more melodic content with an initially undiminished tempo. With a breakdown at the end the song has everything you would expect from KATAKLYSM 2020. This could be the end of it now.

But ‘Unconquered’ has six more songs. All of them are not bad in themselves - but unfortunately, they can add little to the already delivered songs. The sound also contributes a part to this not very memorable listening experience. Although the sound is dense and compactly mixed, it is very powerful, but also sounds more undifferentiated than we were used to. Especially the drums with their unbelievable tempo often get lost in the general din - and at the same time get lost. Sometimes you get the impression that you are listening to Metalcore because of the vibrating sound that comes from the rhythm! The compositions do not seem to be inspired and sometimes remind of AT THE GATES for the melody, sometimes of FALLUJAH for the cosmic, spatial side of which the rest of the record is hardly catchy.

In fact, the rest of the album offers a kind of epic fresco, which is not convincing due to its lack of energy and triumphalism. Under this circumstance, with little musical enthusiasm, we glide towards a melancholic end (‘Icarus Falling’, ‘When it's Over’) and announce the epilogue of a story that is basically promising, and whose writing loses itself between death metal, epic atmosphere and modern composition to deliver inconsistent material. Live, the one or other song from ‘Unconquered’ could probably make its mark and release more energy than on the album. For fans of the band, the album will probably be good enough, new listeners will probably have more questions when listening to this album.


01. The Killshot
02. Cut Me Down
03. Underneath the Scars
04. Focused to Destroy You
05. The Way Back Home
06. Stitches
07. Defiant
08. Icarus Falling
09. When It’s Over


Maurizio Iacono – Vocals
Jean-François Dagenais – Guitars
Stéphane Barbe – Bass
Oli Beaudoin – Drums


Cover Picture

kataklysm unconquered


Music: 6.5
Sound: 5
Total: 5.8 / 10

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