Temple of Knowledge (Kataklysm Part III) - 1996 - Nuclear Blast
Northern Hyperblast Live - 1998 - Hypnotic
Victims Of This Fallen World - 1998 - Hypnotic
The Prophecy - Stigmata Of The Immaculate - 2000 - Nuclear Blast
Epic: The Poetry Of War - 2001 - Nuclear Blast
Shadows & Dust - 2002 - Nuclear Blast
Serenity In Fire - 2004 - Nuclear Blast
In The Arms Of Devastation - 2006 - Nuclear Blast
Prevail - 2008 - Nuclear Blast
Heaven’s Venom - 2010 - Nuclear Blast
Waiting For The End To Come - 2013 - Nuclear Blast
Of Ghosts And Gods - 2015 - Nuclear Blast
Meditations – 2017 - Nuclear Blast
Unconquered – 2020 – Nuclear Blast
MembersS= Malleus Maleficarum>>Sylvain Houde - The Coalition, L.O.S.T., Stamina, Ex Deo, Invictus>>MAURIZIO IACONO>>The Coalition, L.O.S.T., Stamina, Ex Deo, Invictus
G= Stéphane Côté>>Obscene Crisis - The Coalition>>JEAN-FRANÇOIS DAGENAIS>>The Coalition
B= The Coalition, T.S.D.>>Maurizio Iacono>>The Coalition – Ex Deo>>STÉPHANE BARBE>>Ex Deo
D= T.S.D.>>Ariel Saied Martinez>>Diabholico – Maxim Duhamel>>Ex Deo - Diabolic Possession, Nasferatu, Anal Blast>>Nick Miller>>Anal Blast, Diabolic Possession - Ion Dissonance>>Jean-François Richard>>Blastfame – Obscene Crisis>>Martin Maurais>>Dechrist - Max Duhamel>>Ex Deo – Eternal Burden, Neuraxis, Ex Deo>>Oli Beaudoin>>Ex Deo, All Is Ashes
HistoryMontreal’s Kataklysm was formed in 1991 when bassist Iacono and drummer Saied – both previously active in the Bay Area thrash-influenced T.S.D - placed an advertisement at a local record store seeking newer members. Upon grouping with singer Houde and Cote and former Voivod roadie Dagenais the five opted for a death metal sound. Named by the numinous Houde, Kataklysm (initially Cataclysmus) immediately set out to write and record.
The band was initially a two-guitar formation, but would be without the services of Stephane Cote soon. The guitarist, who had left amid acrimony, would later threaten to sue Kataklysm for royalty by sending a legal letter. He would also form the grinding hardcore-oriented Obscene Crisis. The Latin American migrant Saied, however, would leave after the recording of The Death Gate Cycle Of Reincarnation demo in 1992. A session drummer, Mark Marino, would be temporarily drafted for live work. The band had earlier played the Day Of Darkness show with Gorguts headlining. Said demo tape would feature a trilogy, the band’s sun-like logo and a brutal death metal sound. Remaining the band’s only demo, though followed by an industry-only tape, the band’s initial disc would feature the same demo, plus a newer tune. The Mystical Gate Of Reincarnation MCD (re-named to avoid running afoul of the books’ authors rights) was issued by Nuclear Blast in the midst of negotiations for a recording contract and in exchange for $1,000. The band ventured outside Montreal and played a show with Catharsis in Toronto in January 1994. Fifty people attended this show. Kataklysm played a return show in Montreal with Catharsis, Ancestral and Crypt Keepers a week later. The Montreal show was promoted by Eric Galy who worked with Crypt Keepers and later founded Galy Records and roadied for Cryptopsy. In the meanwhile, a pen pal, Fred Schaus, would form Boundless Records and issue a 7” EP with the band in Belgium. Vision The Chaos was a limited release and recorded at an experimental studio, unlike the band’s demo/MCD, which was recorded with Oblivion’s Pierre Remillard. In the meanwhile, inspired by a Fear Factory advertisement in a Canadian magazine called M.E.A.T. the band had termed its music ‘Hyperblast.’ The band’s management had added the term ‘Northern’ in order to exploit Houde’s penchant for mysticism and spirituality further. Management had also mediated the return of Houde who had left the band at least twice during this period. The band had also occasionally auditioned second guitarists. A contract from France’s Modern Primitive Records (Disgrace, etc.) would be rebuffed as would later overtures from Invasion Records.
After prolonged negotiations the band would sign to Nuclear Blast Records and set out to record its debut full-length. The album was produced by Glen Robinson at Morin Heights Studio. The album’s release was followed by an offer to fill in last minute as Bolt Thrower’s European openers. Citing a lack of publicity the band had declined. Kataklysm instead toured that spring with Deicide, Cathedral, Fleshcrawl, Brutal Truth and Sinister as part of the Bash Easter Festival. The Canadian Sorcery release parties were conducted in Montreal and Quebec City alongside Incantation. A North American tour would result in a falling out with Incantation and allegations that the Canadians (and friends) had attacked Incantation’s van and property in Montreal. 1996’s Temple Of Knowledge featured a more straightforward sound and a new drummer. Duhamel had left the band (again) due to knee problems and was replaced by American Nick Miller. The album would be Houde’s last studio outing. Ostensibly peeved by the depiction of Houde on the album’s cover and idiosyncratic behaviour the man had been shown the door. Iacono would take over the vocals as well. Having fought with Nuclear Blast the band would sign with Canada’s Hypnotic Records for two oft-criticized albums with a hardcore sound. The band’s new bassist was Stephane Barbe. Kataklysm, which was contemplating calling it a day as well, was releasing an album called 1999-6661 for Hypnotic Records. The title was not used except as part of a song title. The band and Hypnotic became embroiled in a war of words and legal altercation over the Victims Of This Fallen World album soon enough and the band began re-recording it for an independent release through Maurizio’s Skyscraper Music. The band will then look to tour Canada with Broken Hope and Internal Bleeding. The band and Nuclear Blast would patch their differences and the band would re-join the German label. The Prophecy (Stigmata Of The Immaculate) was seen as a return to form for Kataklysm, albeit without the distinct growl of Sylvain Houde. A tour with Vader, Fleshcrawl and others would also take place.
Kataklysm would participate in the Nuclear Blast Festivals 2000 and appear on the DVD of the same name in 2001, alongside Destruction, Hypocrisy and others. Epic: The Poetry Of War was issued in September of 2001 and would be seen as a success, but a tour with Marduk would be cancelled. The band would assign production duties to guitarist Dagenais, who had hereto recorded local acts and begun handling work for foreign metal bands as well. American shows would follow under the Death Across America monicker. Duhamel would again leave Kataklysm at the beginning of 2003 and be replaced by JF Richard of Ion Dissonance. In the meanwhile, a project between members of the band and Cryptopsy would be lost in a haze of acrimony. The band would tour with The Haunted and even appear on stage at Germany’s Wacken. The band’s viability would translate into a new recording contract with Nuclear Blast. Serenity In Fire was advertised as featuring Hypocrisy’s Peter Tägtgren, although his guest vocals were mere cameos. The American No More Serenity tour was sponsored by Metal Maniacs magazine and the band shot a promotional video for As I Slither. European shows were cancelled reportedly because Iacono (now residing in the USA) was a new father. The band and Hypnotic Records would get into a legal jab when said label would re-issue the two 1998 albums. The band had planned its own versions of the said CDs. The group would expand its horizons via a tour with Danzig and would soon welcome back Duhamel. In The Arms Of Devastation would disappoint fans upon the announcement of guest work by select Kittie personnel. Several tours, including one with Bolt Thrower, would follow and the band would issue In The Arms Of Devastation. The album’s artwork was chosen from among a number of fan submissions. The cover character would be picked as a mascot. A tour would follow in conjunction with Vader. Bassist Francois Mongrain of Martyr would tour with Kataklysm during its tour with mallcore band Chimaira as the band’s own bass player, Stephane Barbe, has to stay home with his wife who was expecting a baby. The band re-signed with Nuclear Blast Records for more album simultaneous to the release of the Prevail album. The band confirmed a show in Mexico City, Mexico for January 16th, 2009 at the Hard Rock live. This was the band’s first foray into Mexico since the 1995 tour with Incantation which ended up with the bands hating one another and losing money and appetite.
Nuclear Blast Records signed Ex Deo (meaning ‘created out of god’), a project of Kataklysm singer Maurizio Iacono to kick off 2009. According to the German label, "the whole band concept is based on the history of the Roman Empire and will surely please all devoted Kataklysm followers worldwide, but also fans of pagan/Viking metal will surely dig this!” Kataklysm guitarist Jean Francois Dagenais was producing the band’s Romulus album. Guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais was detained by American customs in Washington D.C. in 2009 en route back from Russia. The band claimed he was mistakenly detained for what the agents believed is a criminal. Kataklysm completed the song writing process for its next album in the winter of 2010, which was entitled Heaven’s Venom. The album was tentatively scheduled for an autumn of 2010 release through Nuclear Blast. Kataklysm and Ex Deo singer Maurizio Iacono announced a pizzeria joint venture in Chicago in 2010. It was the second branch of Albano's Pizzeria. The band had recently wrapped up recording Heaven’s Venom which was to be released on August 20th in Europe and August 24th in North America. Heaven’s Venom was recorded by Kataklysm guitarist J-F Dagenais and was mixed by Tue Madsen. The band cancelled its show at Wacken but would play Ozzfest summer. Kataklysm was hitting South Africa in May of 2011. Kataklysm was planning a twentieth anniversary DVD. Kataklysm was announced as the headline act for Hatefest 2011 European tour in December. Support was to come from Triptykon, Marduk and Milking The Goatmachine. In 2012, Rock The Nation touring Agency came to North America through Maurizio Iacono. Century Media America would provide marketing support when booking bands and for the roster.
Kataklysm would release a DVD, called The Iron Will: 20 Years Determined, in April, 2012 through Nuclear Blast. The DVD featured the band’s archival footage, as well as Kataklysm's show at 2011’s Summer Breeze festival. Waiting For The End To Come was the name of the next concept album from Kataklysm. Ex-Neuraxis man Oli Beaudoin was drumming while Max Duhamel dealt with alcoholism. Oli drummed for the band as a stand-in in 2012 as well. In the spring of 2014 drummer Max Duhamel officially retired from the band. Simultaneous to dealing with his alcoholism he admitted that physical issues with his arm have hindered his playing ability, something he had kept to himself. Oli Beaudoin would remain with Kataklysm. Iced Earth would headline the MTV Headbangers Ball European tour in December. Opening were Ensiferum, Kataklysm and Unearth. Headbangers Ball was the name of a ‘80s MTV hard rock program. Canada-based Kataklysm signed a new worldwide deal with Nuclear Blast in late 2017. The band’s next album was called Meditations. Kataklysm and Hypocrisy announced a tour of Europe together for the autumn of 2018. The bands were using the Death Is Just The Beginning monicker for the tour, which was borrowed from the old Nuclear Blast compilation series. Kataklysm, Krisiun, Exhorder and Hatchet would tour North America in September in 2019. Kataklysm, Whitechapel And Fleshgod Apocalypse would tour Europe in November and December. Kataklysm exchanged drummer Oli Beaudoin with drummer James Payne who was in Hiss From The Moat in 2020. Decide, Kataklysm, Begat The Nephilim and Internal Bleeding were touring the USA in the summer of 2021. Invictus, the new solo project of Maurizio Iacono, had a record called Unstoppable through MNRK in September 2022. JF Dagenais contributed. Invictus was a track from Ex Deo, Iacono’s other side-project.
KATAKLYSM - SHADOWS AND DUST - NUCLEAR BLAST
KATAKLYSM - SERENITY IN FIRE - NUCLEAR BLAST
KATAKLYSM - IN THE ARMS OF DEVASTATION - NUCLEAR BLAST
KATAKLYSM - LIVE IN DEUTSCHLAND: THE DEVASTATION BEGINS (DVD) - SKYSCRAPER
KATAKLYSM - PREVAIL - NUCLEAR BLAST
InterviewsFounded in 1991, Montreal, Canada-based KATAKLYSM issued its The Death Gate Cycle Of Reincarnation demo in 1992. Dubbed ‘hyperblast,’ it lived up to its title and made a brutal impact. The line-up on the tape was singer Sylvain Houde, guitarists Jean-Francois Dagenais and Stephane Cote, bassist Maurizio Iacono and drummer Ariel Saied. This interview was conducted mere months after the demo’s release, but Stephane and Ariel had already departed the act. Ali “The Metallian”, who would later work with the band, invited the band to an on-air interview for his Sonic Disaster radio show and interviewed Sylvain and Maurizio for what may have been the young group’s debut interview. Here is a transcript of the interview newly unearthed on an ancient cassette tape and recorded over some pop band’s music. – 1992
METALLIAN: Would you go over the band’s history and update us?
MAURIZIO: We were formed last year around June. Me, Sylvain and Ariel were searching for two guitarists. We found Stephane and JF.
SYLVAIN: Stephane was a friend of mine. We found him three months after. JF was from Laval and we knew his cousin. He listened to us and thought it’s really great and wanted to join us. This was November of last year.
MAURIZIO: this was four weeks before our Jailhouse (a Montreal venue) show. He learned all the songs in four weeks.
METALLIAN: Were any of you in any other bands before Kataklysm?
MAURIZIO: Me and Ariel had a thrash band playing covers just for fun.
METALLIAN: What was it called?
MAURIZIO: It was called T.S.D. The Smiling Dead (laughs) and JF was in two bands playing covers of Slayer. It was called… Death Wars or something.
SYLVAIN: Iron Maiden..
MAURIZIO: Yes, playing Iron Maiden and all kinds of stuff.
SYLVAIN: Stephane was in no band before. He was playing by himself alone at home. He was playing covers of albums he has at home. I was with no band… I was in two bands, but I never sang for them.
METALLIAN: What did you do for them?
SYLVAIN: I lived too far from them. It was the band Malleus Maleficarum that is Putregore today. Some of my ideas like the Necronomicon went into that band. They stole from me. I can’t do anything about it. I was playing guitar before and I sold my guitar because I went to CEGEP (college). So, I couldn’t play the guitar. I knew I could sing, but I never sang before so the first time I really sang for a band was with Ariel and Maurizio. We try to do something new. It took four or five months (for them) to accept that death metal or grindcore is good because before it was only thrash before.
MAURIZIO: you know when you are stuck on one kind of music you stay a bit on it. When you see that grindcore is ‘it’ you go for it.
METALLIAN: Why don’t you describe your musical style in your own words?
METALLIAN: What does that mean?
SYLVAIN: It is for the lyrics. The way I sing with the music.. It has to get attention from the beginning to the end. Everybody says the songs look short, but they are like seven minutes long. They keep the people thrashing with some kind of power.
MAURIZIO: ’Hyper’ is for fast.
SYLVAIN: And to put something spiritual in it. Not ‘gore’ stuff or things like that.
MAURIZIO: The name ‘Hyperblast,’ hyper is for speed, which is an important factor for our band and blasting…
SYLVAIN: The souls and spirits..
MAURIZIO: There is a lot of power in our music. When you say ‘blast’ it is another form of saying it is powerful. We wanted to bring a new style from Montreal. We want to show the world that Quebec can come up with a style. Grindcore, what’s grindcore? Napalm Death came up with that name. Death metal is from the States and we want to show the world that we can come up with something too! We have good bands in Montreal.
SYLVAIN: We wanted to give an example to all the new bands. If they have a style to give it a name because we wanted to remove the word ‘metal’ from the music because it is not logical in the music. It is music, it is not metal; it is not rock…
MAURIZIO: We don’t want to be identified according to a style of music because people don’t want to listen to it because it is grindcore and it is too fast. Instead, we have slow parts, we got acoustic and grindcore mixed together. It is something original and maybe people will get used to it.
METALLIAN: With that said, perhaps initially were I to tell someone that this band is ‘hyperblast’ they won’t get into it because they will think ‘what is that?’
SYLVAIN: Yes, maybe, but..
MAURIZIO: If people listen to it they will like it because when grindcore came out people said ‘what is grindcore? We listen to metal, heavy metal, death metal’ so once they get into it they will stick with it.
METALLIAN: What does the name Kataklysm mean?
SYLVAIN: This came from me. I proposed this name for the band. It was the spiritual concept of the band mixed with all the events in the world. It is like the ‘blast’ because ‘Kataklysm’ is devastating.
MAURIZIO: The destruction of the world.
SYLVAIN: The destruction of the world, but the destruction of the spirit too. It is a deluge. I proposed using it with a ‘K’ instead of a ‘C’ more original, you know?
METALLIAN: It is also more eye-catching. My next question is whether the band is in touch with the underground. Do you consider yourself an underground band. What has the response to the demo been if you are in touch with the underground?
MAURIZIO: I think we are underground because I don’t think you are going to listen to our tapes on the radio, normal radio stations, not like yours… yours is awesome. Really underground! The response to us you can see from our shows. It is people who listen to underground music. I don’t know how to say it…
SYLVAIN: I know that about the response of the people it is not only the underground people.. We are catching the attention of… I know many people who play Dungeons And Dragons, they don’t listen to a lot of music, I let them hear the music and they went crazy. I sold a demo at the Crazy Irving store (a Montreal computer equipment chain) and they were worshipping… they thought it was fucking amazing. They were liking it. I don’t know if those people will go to see shows, but I know if people see it in magazines and the like they will like it. I made people who listen to Iron Maiden or Guns N’ Roses to listen to it and they liked the stuff.
METALLIAN: That is strange and something I wouldn’t expect.
SYLVAIN: It is perhaps not the music, but the spiritual aspect…
MAURIZIO: They like the music. They don’t like the voice (everybody laughs)..
SYLVAIN: Yes, sometimes it’s the voice. They never heard that kind of a voice, but they like it after a couple of listens.
METALLIAN: I suppose that kind of a response is understandable because it is the first time they get hit by such a voice. They don’t know what’s coming. On another note, I am sure you are after a record deal so tell us so tell me what response, if any, you have received from record companies.
MAURIZIO: We got a response from two or three companies. We are looking into it. We have to get our name around the world first. We have to spread our name before and see how our demo sells. Afterwards, we will negotiate and see what is coming up.
METALLIAN: Are you looking for a specific sort of a record company or are you open to any contract?
SYLVAIN: We are open to all.
MAURIZIO: Except MCA, RCA…
METALLIAN: Are you telling me that if MCA sends you a contract you will not sign it?
SYLVAIN: No, yeah, maybe (Laughs) depends on the contract.
METALLIAN: What could be wrong with the contract?
SYLVAIN: If they are abusing… I studied administration and I know sales and contracts and people would try to have more for them. When you sign, it is signed and you have to stick with it. If there is a bad part in it, the company wins and you have to live with it.
MAURIZIO: We want a good production and a good distribution all over the world. We want something that people will notice in the store.
SYLVAIN: And we like justice. We are not a band that wants to take money. We want to spread our name. We want to be equals.
MAURIZIO: Money is not as important. We want to do our thing on stage. That’s all.
METALLIAN: Maurizio, I want to ask you about your bass. I have seen you play bass leads like a guitarist.
MAURIZIO: Well, like I said before I want to be original. Bass is usually an instrument that gives a sound – a bass sound. I want to come up with something new. Nobody else can say ‘did you ever see a bassist play solos?’ and my answer is ‘no, I didn’t.’ It is like jazz, but I thought maybe I should try it in death metal so I was playing around on my bass, came up with these solos and put them in the music. It fits well. I have distortion on the bass so when I play solos it is almost like a lead. It sounds pretty good to me.
METALLIAN: Seeing you live I noticed how you compete with the guitarist for solos. Sylvain, if I do what you do for five minutes then I would not be speaking for the rest of the week. How do you come up with your sound?
SYLVAIN: My voice has become better with practice. I don’t think I practice very much. I think I need more practice. Maurizio told me that my voice is two times darker than Suffocation and it was very very outstanding. People tell me this. It comes from the inside. It is three things. You have to have the voice, your mind in it and the power. Your heart too. You have to go into the sound. You have to feel. Sometimes I am in our practice space and if I don’t feel well I won’t sing well. When I am happy I sing well. If I do a show and I am not feeling well I won’t sing well.
MAURIZIO: Sometimes it goes with the music. Sometimes you can’t have a big voice when the melody isn’t there. You have to feel it.
METALLIAN: I heard that certain bands in the city are becoming uncomfortable climbing the stage after Kataklysm. The audience has expended its energy. How do you think that will factor into your band?
MAURIZIO: Very good. Very good. That means we are getting a good audience response and we are happy with that. I hope they stand beside us all the way.. if we get a record contract. We are not going to forget the people who are helping us. It will stay in our minds. We are a small band. We are trying to get somewhere and if the people are responding like that then great.
SYLVAIN: We would like to organize big parties in Montreal as in free shows and invite bands. A place where there won’t be any bouncers and bring your own beer. You can party and this will be fun.
METALLIAN: Could you give us your demo information for our listeners who like to pick it up.
MAURIZIO: It is $6 CDN or $7 US anywhere else. Postage paid. We are probably getting t-shirts in September.
SYLVAIN: We like to do something with good quality.
MAURIZIO: Yes, we want something that is original and has good quality. We rather wait and get something good instead of getting a white T-shirt with a logo on it. We are a little bit tight with the money now. We want to invest more in the band.
METALLIAN: Thanks for coming in today. I wish you the best of luck. Thanks, guys.
If you enjoyed this, read Cryptopsy