Shadows & Dust

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Kataklysm's Shadows & Dust finds the Canadian death metal veterans doing their thing with ferociously uncompromised fury. Unlike some extreme metal bands who attempt to take baby steps toward accessibility with hints of melody and keyboard textures, Kataklysm keep it pretty pure here, spitting out their monster-growled aggression with astounding technical ability and an unsettling array of tempos. The rat-tat-tat machine-gun opening of "Illuminati," for example, effectively gives way to a crushing mid-tempo groove, which in turn dissolves into blinding grindcore chaos. Another interesting fact: there are very few guitar solos. The entire album (40 lean minutes) proves to be an intense listen, and fans should be thrilled.

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