Kataklysm - Heaven's Venom (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

Heaven's Venom doesn't get its tainted mana from above; instead it spews bile from below. Admittedly, there's not much of it this time around but you kind of get the picture.

I remember I used to write for another (now defunct in spirit) webzine back in the day and Kataklysm’s 2006 effort, In the Arms of Devastation appeared in all the other writers’ End of Year Best Albums’ list…except for mine. I promptly ordered the CD not being the greatest fan of brutal modern death metal; quite uncharacteristically I fell in love with it. I highly anticipated their follow up effort Prevail and felt underwhelmed by it. With In the Arms of Devastation as the benchmark, Heaven’s Venom Prevails more than its predecessor. If you catch my drift.

Opening with a soulless riff attack that imparts blunt force trauma in both riffs and tight soloing, the first cut sharply draws you into their dark embrace. The force of the evil licks of 80s is heard in Determined (Vows of Vengeance) before returning to the present day with a mechanical groove in Faith Made of Shrapnel. However, as the disc progresses, variances are spread thinner and thinner before riffs end up sounding repetitious and lacking. Blast beats driving each and every song carries less wow factor as the disc spins to its conclusion.

The closer Blind Savior has that epic quality that vocalist Maurizio Iacono brought to his recent Ex Deo project which, I must say pretty much outplays this recent effort from the Canadian hyperblasters. It’s almost ironic that their perceived strength is actually one of their most pervasive weaknesses. The last song has a dearth of songwriting ideas that at least proves to me that their creative capital doesn’t necessarily have to be invested in belaboring the “hyperblast” point over and over. It’s a decent disc, much better than the glut of no-name cookie-cutter death metal but still doesn’t live up to the band’s already established standard.