Somewhere along the way, these Canadian Death Metal legends lost me. I don’t think they ever put out a bad album per se, but for a while the fire wasn’t there. That is, until 2006’s flawless masterpiece, In the Arms of Devastation, explosively re-ignited Kataklysm’s fading embers. I don’t know what within the band changed, but somehow they finally remembered how to make memorable, intense Death Metal (although I don’t think that anyone’s going to refer to them as “Hyperblast” anymore, Northern or otherwise). The follow-up in 2008, Previal, so closely followed the blueprint of its predecessor that it initially seemed like Devastation 2 (which wasn’t exactly bad news to my ears), but quickly revealed its unique worth, and sometimes I even prefer it now, depending on my mood. So, has the band strayed from this winning formula? Not really. These Canucks have it sorted now, and aren’t taking any but the most superficial chances here, which mostly works out, although Heaven’s Venom does seem to be slightly missing some unknown, intangible quality that transforms great albums into legendary ones.
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