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Katatonia The Fall Of Hearts album cover
4.03 | 235 ratings | 6 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Takeover (7:09)
2. Serein (4:46)
3. Old Heart Falls (4:22)
4. Decima (4:46)
5. Sanction (5:07)
6. Residual (6:54)
7. Serac (7:25)
8. Last Song Before the Fade (5:01)
9. Shifts (4:54)
10. The Night Subscriber (6:10)
11. Pale Flag (4:23)
12. Passer (6:25)

Total Time 67:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Jonas Renkse / vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Anders "Blackheim" Nyström / guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- Niklas Sandin / bass
- Daniel Moilanen / drums

- Roger Öjersson / guitar solo (1,7,12)
- J P Asplund / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith

CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILEF548 (2016, Europe)

2xLP Peaceville ‎- VILELP548 (2016, Europe)

Thanks to Prog Sothoth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KATATONIA The Fall Of Hearts ratings distribution

(235 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KATATONIA The Fall Of Hearts reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish band KATATONIA has been a staple of the metal circuit for almost 30 years, closing in fast on a dozen studio albums to their name in addition to numerous live albums, singles and EPs. A firmly and well established band, and without a doubt a household name in many circles. "The Fall of Hearts" is their most recent studio production, and was released in the spring of 2016 through UK label Peaceville Records.

While Katatonia mainly appears to be regarded as an alternative metal band, at least from what I can see, it would appear that they have taken a few steps away from that specific field come 2016. This is an album where sophisticated compositions and arrangements dominate, numerous details have been applied as dominant, supportive and subtle effects, and the album as a whole is much more of a head music than a headbanging experience, a deep and at times rather complex affair rather than one that deliver on more of a surface level. An album that have taken a lot of time and effort to create, and one that warrants the listener to spend time and some effort to get into. Progressive metal is the name of the game here, at least as I experience this production.

There's not a whole lot of typical antics to this album however, and it does cover a wee bit more ground than many other bands placed inside this context. There's plenty of room for delicate, melancholic passages for instance, where plucked guitar details, floating keyboard textures and mournful Mellotron complements the melodic and naturally melancholic voice of lead vocalist Renkse in an alluring and compelling manner. There's room for full length songs exploring such landscapes as a matter of fact, mellow and dampened excursions but with just enough of an edge and occasional subtler bite to build and maintain tension. Such arrangements also contrast the band's more dramatic and metal oriented side, as the compositions defined by this latter aspect more often than not will be an ebb and flow type of song that wanders back and forth between the gentle and elegant to the harder hitting and vibrant. As far as comparisons go, the metal side of Katatonia is to my ears much closer to the likes of Pain of Salvation than it is to traditional references such as Dream Theater or Fates Warning on this occasion, and unless the associations I get are extremely flawed today I do think there are some subtle trace elements of grunge hovering somewhere as well.

In addition there's room for occasional moments with more of a Floydian feel to them, and on a few occasions the nervous, vibrant elegance of swirling post-rock style guitars are used to good effect as well. In addition there are some subtle percussion and guitar details here and there that, for me at least, appears to have something of a folky vibe to them. There's quite a bit of diversity at play here in other words, and all the elements used and visited one way or another fits perfectly into the landscapes as well.

Those who tend to be fascinated by the melancholic side of progressive rock and progressive metal should take note of this CD, if they haven't done so already. For those not already well aware of this band, I'd suggest that those who find a band like Porcupine Tree to be just as enjoyable as Pain of Salvation are the ones who should be first in line to give this CD a spin, especially those among them who find the overall moods and atmospheres explored by the former of these to be generally alluring.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The Fall Of Hearts" is the 11th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in May 2016. While it´s been 3 years since the release of "Dethroned & Uncrowned (2013)", Katatonia have been quite busy, releasing both the "Kocytean (2014)" compilation and the "Sanctitude (2015)" live album. In addition to that Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström and Jonas Renkse have also been busy recording (the "Grand Morbid Funeral (2014)" album) and touring with their death metal project Bloodbath. There have been two lineup changes since the release of "Sanctitude (2015)" as guitarist Per "Sodo" Eriksson has been replaced by Roger Öjersson and drummer Daniel Liljekvist has been replaced by Daniel Moilanen. Both are fairly seasoned musicians on the Swedish metal scene having performed with acts like Tiamat and Runemagick.

Stylistically "The Fall Of Hearts" continues the dark, atmospheric, and melancholic rock/metal style of the last couple of albums by the band, but brings on a more progressive twist (some tracks are also slightly longer than usual for Katatonia). Artists like Porcupine Tree and Tool come to mind at various points throughout the album, but Katatonia have a distinct sound, which is especially due to Jonas Renkse´s soft emotive vocals, but also the often layered and intricate compositions.

The tracks are predominantly slow- to mid-paced and focus on melancholic atmospheres, but occasionally heavier riff sections appear, and with the addition of Moilanen to the lineup, some parts even feature double bass drumming. So there are definitely some really heavy parts featured on the album (like the closing sections of opening track "Takeover", "The Night Subscriber" or "Sanction"), although they do not represent the dominant musical style. Some tracks feature relatively simple structures, while others are more complex. In addition to guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, the music also features keyboards, which often lift the music to epic heights, but the keyboards are also often used as atmospheric backing. In addition to the above mentioned, highlights include "Decima", "Serac", "Passer", and "Shifts", but all material on the album is well written and memorable.

At least three additional tracks were recorded during the sessions in "Vakaren", "Sistere", and "Wide Awake In Quietus". The latter features a guest performance by Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh. "Vakaren" is a bit special too as it features Swedish language lyrics. As far as I know it´s the first time Renkse sings in his native language but it definitely shouldn´t be his last. "Vakaren" is a beautiful song and the Swedish language lyrics work perfectly.

The sound production is clear, powerful, and warm, suiting the material perfectly. At 67:22 minutes (the standard version without bonus tracks) "The Fall Of Hearts" is a pretty long album, and maybe also slightly too long, but on the other hand it´s hard to pick any of the 12 tracks that I would leave off the album, and compared to the last couple of albums by the band, "The Fall Of Hearts" is also a much more diverse release, which ensures that it´s entertaining all the way through the playing time. So upon conclusion it´s another high quality release by Katatonia. It´s also a much needed development from the artistic stagnation, which had begun to creep in on the last couple of albums, although the overall atmosphere of the the album isn´t that different from the dark melancholic atmospheres of the predecessors. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Well this is the album that got KATATONIA on the site here. The songs are longer and more complex allowing the band to be designated Prog-Metal. Anders the lead guitarist and co-founder with Jonas Renkse said in a interview that "We've had this urge to go as progressive as this in the past but things have held us back. Technically now we've been able to go into territories we haven't been able to explore before." Anders is talking about the two lineup changes for this album in drummer Daniel Moilanen and guitarist Roger Ojersson who allow the band to go into more challenging areas. Daniel even helped with the compositions and arrangements, while Roger takes the lead guitar duties and solos on "Takeover", "Serac" and "Passer". In the same interview Anders talked about Jonas' dad who has been a huge Prog fan his whole life and how he tried to convince Jonas and his friends to give JETHRO TULL a chance. Anders said "We could tell that it(JETHRO TULL album) wasn't just some boring record that a mum or dad would put on, it was intriguing, but we were so into extreme music that it just wasn't enough at the time. If JETHRO TULL's singer growled maybe we would have loved it!" Yeah the boys were into BATHORY back then.

The music seems more stripped down overall despite being more progressive. There also seems to be more depth and atmosphere than ever before. TOOL and OPETH are the two bands that would come to mind while listening to this album. Once again Travis Smith nails the cover art and pictures in the liner notes, he's so talented. This is the longest album as well by these gloomy Swedes as it clocks in at over 67 minutes.

"Takeover" is a top five song for me but I have to say the songs here are very consistent making it difficult picking just five and then which five? They are all so good. This one really moves me early on, that sound and those vocals(gulp). It's just so uplifting and beautiful. It turns heavier after a minute. So good! Love the vocals before 2 1/2 minutes as Jonas sings with passion. That earlier transcendent section is back at 3 1/2 minutes. No words. Piano before 4 1/2 minutes but it's crushed rather quickly. The guitar tone is perfect here and check out the drumming 5 1/2 minutes in. I'm thinking OPETH after 6 minutes with the guitar and heaviness. "Serein" features atmosphere and a fairly urgent rhythm section with vocals. It kicks in quickly though sounding amazing. I like the energy here as Jonas sings with heart. Man I love his voice. A calm before 3 minutes then these distant sounding vocals join in but soon he's singing like he usually does. A moving kick-ass tune.

"Old Heart Fails" opens with a lone guitar melody as reserved vocals and atmosphere take over. This is slow to mid-paced yet full of depth with those rich sounds. A calm 1 1/2 minutes in with vocals and little else. Strings after 2 1/2 minutes the this heavy undercurrent arrives just before 3 minutes as Jonas continues to sing. It's fuller again a minute later. "Decima" is a top five. Picked guitar with mellotron-like sounds as Jonas comes in almost speaking the lyrics. It's fuller as mellotron-like sounds sweep across the soundscape and Jonas sings with emotion. We get "Damnation" like guitar that I so enjoy before 2 1/2 minutes. It settles again, man such attention to detail on this album. "Sanction" destroys us with power and depth as we get hit hard right from the start. A calm when the vocals arrive and it feels like it's about to break out but never does until after 1 1/2 minutes. There's more of that "Damnation" like guitar 2 1/2 minutes in as it settles. It turns fuller but then settles with keys before exploding 4 1/2 minutes in.

"Residual" is a top five tune. Deep sounds and plenty of dark atmosphere as reserved vocals join in. It's building after 1 1/2 minutes but it will settle back as contrasts continue. Here we go 4 1/2 minutes in as they amp it up! I'm so blown away by this, it's moving and uplifting. "Serac" is another top five. Again deep and powerful sounds with an interesting guitar melody then it kicks in hard. Those off-kilter guitar expressions are cool. This is crushing as Jonas sings with passion. A calm before 2 minutes with intricate sounds and atmosphere then the vocals return as it builds until they are kicking ass. Love the "Damnation" like calm that follows. It kicks in again around 4 minutes and check out the Steven Wilson-like vocals after 5 minutes. Nice. "Last Song Before The Fade" opens with piano but it's destroyed quickly, vocals too. Check out the atmospheric calm with vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. It kicks back in at 2 minutes. The heavier sections remind me of OPETH. More atmosphere as the guitar solos tastefully. Jonas is back singing and it's intense and the bass is killer. More piano then it kicks in again.

"Shifts" opens with sirens in fact they will come and go throughout. A beat and piano lead early along with vocals. Synths add depth in this the most laid back tune of the lot. "The Night Subscriber" is my final top five. Lots of depth here with piano over top. Check out the strings sweeping across the soundscape. Vocals just before a minute. Cascading guitars before 2 minutes as the sound then turns heavy. Nice. The vocals continue as the drums pound. It's so majestic sounding with those strings 2 1/2 minutes in. It's heavy duty again 4 1/2 minutes in and the onslaught continues after 5 minutes. Oh my! "Pale Flag" is a relaxed tune with picked guitar and some atmosphere as the vocals join in. I really like the depth of sound before 3 minutes. An interesting track. "Passer" hits us right away with a wall of sound before a calm with almost spoken words and mellotron takes over. A cascade of guitar notes after 1 1/2 minutes as it turns more powerful including the vocals. It settles back again as themes are repeated. The bonus track I have is called "Vakaren" and what make sit so unique is that Jonas is singing in Swedish which I've never heard him do before. The results are fantastic to say the least.

Right now I'd rate this as my third favourite KATATONIA album after "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" and my favourite "The Great Cold Distance". This one is a grower but if your like me once you start to connect to it you'll be hooked.

Review by Necrotica
5 stars A common thread you wind up finding in every Katatonia album is that every one of them exhibits a different kind of melancholy. Each expression of that one emotion changes with each stylistic shift or altered lyrical approach, but either way, the melancholy still returns in some way. Perhaps it comes in the form of desperate wails and screams over crushing doom-laden riffs (Dance of December Souls). Maybe it can be found in gritty imagery involving the ills of crime and street life (Viva Emptiness). Alternately, the looming darkness of orchestral strings and mellotrons could seal the deal (Dead End Kings). But when it comes to The Fall of Hearts, the dreary atmosphere is expressed somewhat' differently. It might come down to a lack of metal influences this time around, but there's an unusually surreal and dreamlike touch to the music. The songs are sad, yes, but also given a sort of levity and weightlessness by the shimmering clean guitars and light piano melodies that coil around the increasingly progressive rhythms. Jonas Renkse has channeled his sorrows through more passionate vocal passages (just listen to the chorus of 'Last Song Before the Fade'!) while the music surrounding him has become more abstract compared to past efforts.

Really, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's not like this progressive influence is just out of the blue; the last few records, especially Dead End Kings, were already hinting at this bold new direction. But I suppose the fascinating thing about The Fall of Hearts is just how well they pulled off those influences. Instead of the crunchy, churning alternative metal riffs that dominated a good chunk of the band's career, there's now more respect and care given to the atmosphere than ever before. If you ever hear a downtuned metal riff ('Takeover,' 'Passer,' 'Serac,' and 'Last Song Before the Fade' still bring the heaviness to a degree), you can be sure that a beautiful slow passage will be just around the corner to counteract the aggression. 'Serac,' for instance, brings a fresh melding of progressive metal and soft rock that's not too dissimilar to Opeth's best works from the early 2000s (minus the growls, of course). Then you have 'Passer,' which kicks off with a shredding guitar solo over a rapid-fire galloping snare rhythm before it almost immediately dies down to give us one of the most emotionally potent verses the band have ever concocted. It's not that the band have lost their edge, but that they simply reserved it for the best moments this time around. And really, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that Katatonia didn't really subscribe to a set songwriting formula this time around. The arrangements are quite labyrinthine and unpredictable compared to what we're used to from these guys, and the opening 7-minute track 'Takeover' is an immediate example of this. This mini-epic takes you in so many directions in such little time, from a beautiful dreamlike intro/refrain to a rousing metal section to a deeply orchestral chorus to a stunning piano break. Add to that a killer guitar solo from newcomer Roger Ojersson on top of that, and you've got one of the best openers in recent memory.

In fact, let's talk about those newcomers for a second. Guitarist Roger Ojersson and drummer Daniel Moilanen were a huge asset to the sound The Fall of Hearts would ultimately adopt and cultivate, as their technical proficiency allowed the band to work outside of their typical framework a bit more. The solos in 'Takeover,' 'Passer,' and especially the harmonized portion of 'Serac' are incredible ways to build on songwriting that already takes pride in taking listeners on a real journey. Meanwhile, Daniel absolutely kills on the drumkit. His grasp of varying time signatures and subtle dynamics is just impeccable, and he can shift styles with ease to fit each mood perfectly. As for the songwriting, however, you may notice in the credits that it's all Jonas Renkse and Anders Nystrom as usual. Maybe that's the most fascinating thing about The Fall of Hearts, really. Just the fact that these two had it in them to make this record all along, but they simply needed the right circumstances and band members to make it happen. If you want a good marker of just how much they've evolved as songwriters, just take into account the fact that 'Pale Flag' and 'Shifts' are minimalist folk rock ballads with almost none of the band's typical sonic trademarks present, and yet they're not out of place in the slightest. But then again, nothing on The Fall of Hearts is out of place; it's just the sound of a fully-evolved, fully-realized Katatonia that was always trying to break free from the mire of comfortable familiarity.

Review by aapatsos
4 stars Perfect (for) isolation.

This is a very welcome turn (incremental development, some will argue) in Katatonia's career. Melancholy is still the main vehicle but a great dose of "Opeth-ism" just moves them out of the usual direction and places them in the more "adventurous" category. Far proggier than previous releases, The Fall of Hearts is captivating at nearly every moment. Layered mid-tempo (and far more often chopping) guitar playing, enchanting vocals on narrative mode, carefully placed keyboards, the album asks far more difficult questions that any in their recent past. Interestingly, the majority of the titles were composed by the two founding members but the addition of a new guitarist and drummer seems to have added a spark to the execution. Renske seems to have this gift of detaching his vocal melodies from the rhythm section which is proving the real winner ingredient.

Whether in shuffle or in order, all the tracks generate a beautiful harmony and balance, bringing a feeling of cohesion. At the end of the record, it all sounds like one piece and song titles don't matter. The slight oriental twists and addition of snippets of death/black metal atmosphere (e.g. Passer, reminiscent of their early days) provides a flavour of unexpected. Further to Opeth, the listener can discover resemblance to Tool and Soen. Picking out favourites is difficult and often a good sign. Invest without hesitation.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I will never understand how and why Katatonia is so good. Is it their willingness to change their sound without pressure? Or maybe it's their thirst to experiment and play around with their music. Who knows? What we do know, (or at least me) is that Katatonia is a beautiful and amazing band. Kata ... (read more)

Report this review (#2594214) | Posted by progtime1234567 | Monday, September 13, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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