Call to Arms: Katakylsm captures the defiant spirit of heavy music with 'Goliath' - Knotfest

Call to Arms: Katakylsm captures the defiant spirit of heavy music with ‘Goliath’

Posted by Alex Distefano in Culture on August 1, 2023

Vocalist Maurizio Iacono discusses the biblical implications of their new record, non-conformity in metal and how the extreme music veterans continue to adapt and thrive.

For three decades, Canadian metal unit Katakylsm has been relentless in unleashing their apocalyptic fury and musical aggression around the world. Among the hardest working and most prolific bands in extreme music, the band’s proven stamina and driven work ethic have resulted in a catalog that has grown at a rapid clip. On the verge of releasing their 15th full length studio album, it tough not reflect on the long road band has traveled to arrive at this point, however, the obvious remains how much more road this is ahead.  

Vocalist Muarizio Iacono offered some insight as to what has propelled Kataklysm to keep their foot on the gas and how the versatility that is core to their DNA has allowed them to pull ahead of the pack.

”Kataklysm is a hybrid band, we’re not just death metal,” Iacono said. “ Our music has so many different complexities and influences, it’s impossible to narrow it down. We can go out  and tour with Cannibal Corpse,  Napalm Death, Fear Factory, Pantera  and everyone in between. Where it could get a little weird and crazier, is the super dark evil black metal bands out there; we might not fit in the best with those bands. Other than that we can play with almost every other genre, from death metal and grindcore, to thrash to hardcore, no problem.”

Set to unleash Goliath on August 11th via Nuclear Blast, Kataklysm is eager to showcase that kind of diversity by hitting the road again following an extended hiatus in the fallout from the Covid pandemic. The period of reevaluation resonated with Iacono and forced him to take real inventory of the world around him.

“Over everything that the past 2-3 years has given us all a time to take a break and analyze what’s going on and my eyes were opened somewhat so to speak,” Iacono said. “I just saw a lot of  heavy-handed approaches during the lockdown and it’s not what I stand for, it’s not how I grew up and as a metal head. I thought we were rebels, non-conformists. So, i’m standing up for what I believe in support of total freedom of speech even if people disagree with it.”

Iacono explained that his survey of the current climate and the kind of oppression and division that seems all too prevalent is something escalating worldwide, with implications extending into environmental, economic and military conflicts of which seem to grow worse each day. Naturally, those observations worked their way into the next Kataklysm album.

“It’s biblical,” Iacono shared. “Which brings me to our new album of course, Goliath. It’s a story from thousands of years ago but fast forward to today and we’re essentially still fighting the same fight. Things might be easier with technology, but it’s still the same lessons people need to learn. There is always oppression against people all over the world; it’s always a battle to maintain freedom for humanity, on a global and individual level.”

Iacono reiterated that while the album has a nexus to the biblical story of Goliath, the album is less concept than it is about correlating narrative to something relative. “There are some different songs on this album, some are based on the biblical story, others are metaphors about the structural element of tyranny and fighting the demons of the elite. Some songs are also about fighting your own internal demons as well. The demons could be physically in front of us but it also could be inside of us, and there’s always a struggle.”

While the most recent studio effort bears huge thematic significance Katakylsm, its impossible to disregard the kind of longevity that has allowed the band to have such lengthy tenure. Among the myriad of accolades, the band has amassed an cult following internationally, sold an incomprehensible amount of records and have even tallied a Juno Award, the Canadian equivalent to the Grammy Awards, for their 2015 effort, Ghosts and Gods

In discussing the outlook for Kataklysm, Iacono can’t help but reflect on the kind of kind of shelf life the band has enjoyed, contemplating where it all began for a passionate group of young metalheads. “I’m just so amazed at how successful this band has become after all these years, and I’m eternally thankful to all of our fans, they have no idea!” Iacono said. “We started in 1991,  and at the time we first started the band, the internet was a fax machine.”

Iacono added how the earliest days of the band were specially formative and how much things have changed, but a few important constants have remained.“There were underground shows all the time, and we were all about going to the record stores and everyone would hang out listen to new music and discover new bands; it was us, the members of Cryptopsy, Voivod, Gorguts. We all grew up with the physical aspect. Now it’s more digital. We used to have to wait for albums, magazines, and stuff like that. Now everything in this matrix is instant. It’s made the world smaller. Now we’re within reach of everything, literally.”

Iacono reiterated how live, physical experience of extreme music is distinct and how being productive being a presence live is one in the same. “Bands have to always be on the hustle because of this, and always be out there making new music, going  on the road playing shows, playing festivals, putting out videos, new merch, whatever it takes, inducing social media which is key. You have to be adaptive and as we get older, this becomes more important but for some people it’s more difficult,” he said. 

“I manage several different bands like Krisiun, Septic Flesh, and Fleshgod Apocalypse, and some of those guys are old school and say they dont give a shit about social media but you gotta participate on it or you’re gone,” Iacono addd. “We all have to adapt to the new way of doing things, especially as musicians.”

In the same spirit of being effective strategists as well as craftsmen, Katakylsm is waiting until November of this year to begin a full on world wide campaign. The end goal is to give fans time to live with the songs on Goliath, before unleashing it’s live fury. There will certainly be at least a few previews of the mammoth strength of the album before then, as Kataklysm will participate in European festival season in the month of August with a select few dates.

Iacono explained how the festival plays will ultimately allow the band a few test runs of the new music, to better gage what will connect most with the fans and what is better left for the record. “We have now 15 albums so it’s hard to pick the songs, but depending on the reactions from the festivals,  we will play a few songs from the new album  on our tour, possibly ‘Die As a King,’ or ‘Bringer of Vengeance,’ or some other singles to be released shortly.”

Goliath, the 15th studio album from Katakylsm arrives August 11th from Nuclear Blast Records.

Pre-order the album – HERE

Goliath Tracklist

1. Dark Wings Of Deception
2. Goliath
3. Die As A King
4. Bringer Of Vengeance
5. Combustion
6. From The Land Of The Living To The Land Of The Dead
7. The Redeemer
8. Heroes To Villains
9. Gravestones & Coffins
10. The Sacrifice For Truth

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