As Kataklysm's eleventh album, simply named Prevail, rolls off the assembly line -- just like clockwork -- in mid-2008, one may find it difficult not to take these enduring Canadians for granted; such is the dependable quality of their technically efficient, yet never quite revolutionary brand of death metal. True to form, none of Prevail's ten tracks do much of anything to address the latter characteristic (there are simply no world-shattering innovations to be found here), but that's not to say that Kataklysm aren't evolving in their own way, as they continue to offset familiarly forceful onslaughts like "The Chains of Power" and "Tear Down the Kingdom" with other, increasingly accessible songs. Early standout "Taking the World by Storm," for example, is both slower in tempo and simpler in makeup than most of the band's previous work; and another, "As Death Lingers," is threaded with a captivating Gothenburg-like melodic thread that some extreme-minded purists may find lacking in intensity. But then, Kataklysm have never really tried to compete with the ultra-complex, unbearably brutal death metal contingent (Suffocation, Nile, etc.), either, so their fans shouldn't begrudge the more measured approach found in the doomy "As Death Lingers" and melodic instrumental "The Last Effort (Renaissance II)," nor the greater songwriting variety heard on multi-faceted offerings like "To the Throne of Sorrow" and "The Vultures Are Watching." It's also worth noting that Maurizio Iacono's ever-growling, but generally understandable vocalizing offers another, distinct advantage over the competition's frequently unintelligible Cookie Monster grumbling. So even though Prevail probably won't change anyone's preconceived notions of Kataklysm's strengths and weaknesses, as mentioned earlier, the average death metal nut who arrives with an open mind and blank slate in hand is sure to come away satisfied. [Nuclear Blast issued a CD/DVD edition in 2008.] Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
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