Live at the Whisky a Go Go

West Hollywood, CA

June 7th, 2018

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Canadian death metal legends, Kataklysm return to the Whisky a Go Go for a special concert and record release party in honor of their latest effort, "Meditations". Nuclear Blast put on the event with the added bonus of every attendee walking out with said album in hand.

The venue was packed to the rafters with fans of the heavy-hitting band from the north end of the continent, and security had their hands full trying to keep the crowd within the designated areas of the club.

Exmortus had warmed up the audience, also celebrating a record release on this occasion, and everyone was cheering as Kataklsym took the stage.

Since 1998 the core trio of artists have held strong to their vision of metal with Maurizio Iacono on vocals, Jean-Fran├žois Dagenais on guitars, and Stephane Barbe on bass guitar. In 2013 Oli Beaudoin came on board behind the drum kit and the quartet have been a force of nature on stages around the globe and in the studio.

They opened the set with "Ambassador of Pain" from "Serenity of Fire". The crowd went nuts with a huge swath of the floor turning into a tumultuous mosh pit the moment the music started. They followed that up with a song from the new album with "Narcissist".

Maurizio is a formidable front man who looks as imposing as his vocals sound. "Thy Serpent's Tongue" from "Of Ghosts and Gods" was up next, running directly into "10 Seconds From the End" from 2004's "Serenity in Fire".

Maurizio took several moments to address the crowd throughout the night. He thanked Nuclear Blast for putting on such an amazing event, and the fans for coming out in force to share this moment with them.

He introduced the next song as the opening track from the new album, "Guillotine". This song stood out immediately upon my first listen to "Meditations" and it was awesome to see it live.

Returning to "Serenity in Fire", they hit up one of my favorite songs of theirs with "As I Slither". Staying in the mid-2000's they did "Open Scars" from the "In the Arms of Devastation" album, throwing continuous fuel on the fire of the raging crowd.

Maurizio said a few words before the next song, commenting on how many people, especially in the metal and underground music communities, can feel set apart from the majority in this world, especially with the current global climate. Many of us feel like an "Outsider" and this song celebrates the outliers of society coming together under the metal flag.

Going from their latest release back eight years, they did two in a row from "Heaven's Venom" with "At the Edge of the World" and the anti-establishment anthem, "Push the Venom".

They followed up with the title track from the "In Shadows and Dust" release before hitting the bone crushing fan-favorite, "Crippled & Broken" from "In the Arms of Devastation". The mosh pit got totally out of hand and a dude got thrown out for getting a little too aggressive.

Maurizio took notice of this and when the song was done, he made a plea to security to let the guy back in as he had done nothing wrong and he remembered in his youth getting thrown out of a show and it really bummed him out. Security gave in and let the guy back in to the show which made the fan's night.

Maurizio took one last moment to thank all the fans again, reiterate how awesome Nuclear Blast was for throwing this party with everyone getting a CD as well, and also thanked Robert Sexton who shot the last two of their music videos and was in attendance.

They concluded the amazing set with two in a row from 2015's "Of Ghosts and Gods"; "The Black Sheep" followed by "The World Is a Dying Insect".

It was an epic show. I love seeing these guys live. For only four men, they put out a powerhouse of energy and a brutal aural assault. I am really enjoying the new album and highly recommend seeing these guys when they come through. They are definitely one of the best death metal bands on the planet.

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