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Katatonia - Dance Of December Souls CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.39 | 62 ratings

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5 stars Have you ever found yourself infuriated with how much ignorance and misunderstanding an album that you adore receives. This is the case for me with the debut album of Katatonia, "Dance of December Souls". I have read many reviews of this album from Katatonia fans (fans of their modern sound) who trash this album for the most blatantly stupid reasons.

First of all, this is not death/doom at all, nor is it black/doom. There is no death metal in this album whatsoever and I don't see how people mindlessly dismiss it as typical extreme doom metal. This sounds literally nothing like anything that was released at the time, nor does it sound like anything released today. It is a mesmerizing blend of epic doom metal, gothic rock, symphonic rock, along with simplified romantic classical music. This isn't even an entirely metal album. Every song is absolutely gorgeous and there is plenty of variation, but it all keeps you in a depressing, dark-fantastical atmosphere that feels like the end of the world is at stake. This is the sound of the universe dying. It is complimented by the vocals, which are guttural cries of anguish that are full to the brim with passion.

"Gateways of Bereavment" is a soothing, brooding melodic doom track with sections that are reminiscent of music that would play during a high-school graduation, but in the best way possible, it's rather difficult to describe. "In Scilence Enshrined" is a more gothic track with a sad, gothic riff with beautiful synths to support it, "Without God" is a more evil- sounding track filled with anger, "Tomb of Insomnia" is closer to pure doom at first, before going into pure gothic rock, then turning into uplifting symphonic music. But the highlight is "Velvet Thorns", which has a very cold, mystical atmosphere that is both depressing and uplifting at the same time, somehow. Then it turns into a faster, power-metal track with melodic tremolo-picking, before going into a slower, ballad-oriented atmosphere, then into an extremely depressing blend of synths and soft-drums that sounds gothic, very romantic, but not rock in any way.

If this review seems incoherent, it is because this is very difficult music to describe. It doesn't really seem like it fits into any genre and many of its ideas seem to have come from out of the blue. All of it is mesmerizing and all of it is inventive and beautiful. But it is also hard to understand. It is a complex record that takes multiple listens to fully digest, but once fully understood, it is easily realized to be the single most brilliant thing done by any doom metal band ever. Definetly the best Katatonia album. Do not let the prejudices of their current fans mislead you into thinking that this is generic in any way.

Caleb9000 | 5/5 |


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