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Katatonia Dead End Kings album cover
4.01 | 97 ratings | 3 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Parting (04:52)
2. The One You Are Looking for Is Not Here (03:52)
3. Hypnone (04:07)
4. The Racing Hearts (04:06)
5. Buildings (03:28)
6. Leech (04:23)
7. Ambitions (05:07)
8. Undo You (04:56)
9. Lethean (04:39)
10. First Prayers (04:28)
11. Dead Letters (04:49)

Total time 48:47

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Frank Default / keyboards, co-producer
- JP Asplund / percussion
- Silje Wergeland / vocals (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith

CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILEF403 (2012, UK)

2xLP Peaceville ‎- VILELP403 (2009, UK)

Thanks to Prog Sothoth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KATATONIA Dead End Kings ratings distribution

(97 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

KATATONIA Dead End Kings reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Dead End Kings" is the 9th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in August 2012. Since the release of "Night Is the New Day (2009)", there have been a few lineup changes as Fredrik Norrman (guitars) and Matthias Norrman (bass) have left the band. "Dead End Kings" was therefore recorded as a trio with Anders Nyström handling bass, keyboards, guitars, programming and backing vocals, Jonas Renkse handling lead vocals, programming, guitars, keyboards and drums, and Daniel Liljekvist handling drums and percussion. The album also features a guest vocal performance by Silje Wergeland (The Gathering) on the track "The One You Are Looking for Is Not Here".

The music on the album pretty much continues where "Night Is the New Day (2009)" left off. Which means a dark, melancholic, and emotional type of rock/metal that has Katatonia written all over it. While Jonas Renkse possesses a relatively "regular" voice, the paatos filled/emotional delivery of his vocals has always been something special. Here is a man who bleeds melancholy and who is able to greatly impact the listener with his singing. You have to be in the mood for it though, as he sometimes borders the pathetic. The instrumental side of the music features a lot of dark/light effects and dynamics between heavy loud parts and mellower more quiet parts. As such nothing new when it comes to Katatonia. It´s a sound they have fine tuned and developed upon since "Viva Emptiness (2003)". Keyboards/synths take a prominent role on some tracks and the music also features tight rhythms and both heavy chugging riffs and dynamic clean guitar work.

To my ears tracks like "The Parting", "The One You Are Looking for Is Not Here", "Hypnone", "Buildings", and "Dead Letters" are some of the highlights, but "Dead End Kings" is quality wise a consistent album. It´s also very well produced, featuring a clear, detailed, and powerful sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. While "Dead End Kings" is undeniably yet another high quality release by Katatonia, I do feel it´s time that the band try something radically new. "Dead End Kings" is a great album but it´s also a very "safe" album, and I´m missing a bit of an edge or maybe a more adventurous spirit to set the album apart from the last couple of albums by the band. Isolated seen "Dead End Kings" fully deserves a 4 star (80%) rating though.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars It took me a while to warm up to the previous album "Night Is The New Day" because of how mainstream some of it was, but in the end it became a solid 4 stars and one I enjoy a lot. That's the album Mikael Akerfeldt said was possibly the strongest metal release he's heard in the last 10 years. "Dead End Kings" sees the band going further down the commercial road but this time it's too far for my tastes. Sure there's lots to like but overall 3 stars is all I can give it. Big changes in the lineup as well for the first time in many years as the Norrman brothers(guitar/ bass) have left the band to be replaced by Per Eriksson and Niklas Sandin respectively. So still a five piece with a three guests helping out with percussion, keyboards and vocals including THE GATHERINGS Silje Wergeland who adds the vocals. Travis Smith has out-done himself with some outstanding art work that I've spent quite a bit of time enjoying. Love the bleak themes Travis uses and the use of trees and crows especially. It might be his best with the band even better than the cover art and the art in the liner notes from the "Black Sessions" compilation recording.

"The Parting" opens with strings and orchestral sounds as vocals then a powerful sound kick in. It's brief though as reserved vocals, strings and drums take over, piano as well. The powerful and mellow are contrasted throughout. "The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here" is laid back but with a powerful undercurrent at times. Silje guests on vocals here but just accompanying Jonas unfortunately. We get strings and piano here as well. An okay tune. "Hypnone" opens with strummed guitar and piano to start as the drums and bass kick in, riffs follow. It settles when the vocals arrive. An emotional chorus and the title of the album is quoted in the lyrics in this song.

"The Racing Hearts" is a commercial, almost ballad-like tune but man it's emotional. Jonas sounds like Seal on this one strangely enough and I almost feel guilty liking it(haha). It's more powerful on the chorus but what a gorgeous track. "Buildings" might be the heaviest track on the album. I like the bass in this one. "Leech" opens with piano and atmosphere as reserved vocals join in followed by drums. I'm not too into this until that melancholic solo guitar arrives. So good and it reminds me of the guitar on OPETH's "Damnation" album. It turns heavy then themes are repeated including that melancholic guitar solo. Nice.

"Ambitions" is a killer for me because of the lyrics. Too close to home(gulp). The vocals are emotional along with the lyrics and I do like the more powerful sound after 1 1/2 minutes. "Undo You" features plenty of piano and it does get a little heaver at times but I'm not into this one. "Lethean" and the following 2 tracks end the album on a high for me. This one is powerful right off the hop but it settles when the vocals arrive and contrasts will continue throughout. A ripping guitar solo 3 minutes in has me smiling.

"First Prayers" is interesting lyrically as I've enjoyed reading them over and over. This one kicks some ass as well which I appreciate. Check out the minute long instrumental section starting 2 1/2 minutes in. "Dead Letters" is a great way to end the album as we get some desperate sounding spoken vocals to start as the sound builds. Jonas starts to sing as it settles back then it kicks in hard again. Nice. I can't get over how much the piano sounds like PORCUPINE TREE later on, it makes me feel good every time I hear it.

Not since the first time I heard "Tonight's Decision" have I been so disappointed over a KATATONIA album. But when a band changes their sound as KATATONIA have done a few times over their careers your going to lose and gain fans. By the way I don't own the next album by these Swedes because it's basically an acoustic version of this record and I've made it known many times that unplugged or acoustic albums do little for me.

Review by Necrotica
5 stars "At night, walking on the tracks, change my perspective..."

That is, indeed, a lyric from the album. However, it's also a quick summation of when I realized Katatonia's greatest strengths as a band. One cloudy evening, many years ago, I parked my car and proceeded to walk to a bass lesson by my jazz instructor. As I crossed the tracks, I listened to Dead End Kings for the very first time on my phone and headphones. As I looked at my surroundings, every color seemed to melt into a muted blend of gray and black through the sheer power of musical atmosphere. The mix of crunchy downtuned guitar riffing and cinematic keyboards found in opener "The Parting" felt like a gradual descent into a different state of being altogether; hell, I felt like I was just teleported somewhere else entirely. Now, keep in mind that I was already a fan of Katatonia by this point. I was a big fan of Viva Emptiness and The Great Cold Distance and the way they combined crushing alternative metal riffs with a melancholic vibe. But something about this experience was distinctly different.

On the more concrete side of things, the most notable aspect of Dead End Kings is that it symbolizes Katatonia's evolution into a progressive rock/metal act. There were always hints here and there, but this is the first time we get to hear those moments in a more fleshed-out way. Tempos are more varied, the rhythms are a bit more intricate, and as stated before, some cinematic synthesizers have been thrown in (and utilized more effectively than on Night is the New Day, as far as I'm concerned). Some songs practically ditch metal altogether, such as the soft palm-muted electric guitar chug of "The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here" or the melodious, textured doom rock (if "doom rock" is a real tag) of "Undo You." A few other experiments are brought on board too, like the strange piano-led swing rhythm of "Leech," the snare drum dominance of the more technically-challenging "Hypnone," and the fantastic inclusion of electronic ornaments to the music of "The Racing Heart." And what does all of this do for the band's sound? Exactly what it should be doing: giving us one of the most atmospheric releases yet by this band. It should probably be clear by this point that when I wrote: "Katatonia's greatest strength's," atmosphere was at the top of that list. And the reason Dead End Kings remains one of my favorite Katatonia albums is because the progressive elements gave them even more ways to experiment with the general atmosphere of their music. Add on top of this some of their most dynamic traditional bangers, such as "Ambitions" and "Dead Letters," and the experience is practically impossible to not recommend. A night on the tracks changed my perspective indeed.

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