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KATATONIA

Progressive Metal • Sweden


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Katatonia biography
KATATONIA have constantly evolved throughout their career but this has been particularly the case since 2012's ''Dead Eng Kings'', which showed a growing influence from progressive rock, and a significant turn towards progressive metal in 2016 with ''Fall of Hearts'', qualifying them for inclusion in PA.

This latter album shows influences from OPETH, SOEN and PORCUPINE TREE with longer, more elaborate compositions compared to the typical 3-4 minute compositions of the band's last 15 years' history, where the focus was mainly on alternative melodic metal. Despite this, progressive rock influences can be found also in albums such as Viva Emptiness and Night is the New Day.

....

Founded in 1991 by Jonas RENSKE and Anders NYSTROM, the Stockholm, Sweden based act initiated its career as a death/doom band, featuring dark dirges akin to early ANATHEMA, PARADISE LOST and MY DYING BRIDE. While starting off as a studio based act, the pressure to tour resulted in the creation of a full lineup that would consistently evolve throughout the group?s career trajectory. While their first two releases, "Dance of December Souls" (1993) and "Brave Murder Day" (1996) featured prominent harsh vocals, with the latter release involving Mikael ┼KERFELDT no less, "Discouraged Ones" (1998) shed much of the more extreme elements of their sound (including the harsh vocals in favor of a smooth, clean delivery) without reducing the somber and gloomy characteristics.

The band were then signed to Peaceville Records in which they released "Tonight's Decision" in 1999, in which Dan SWANO was recruited as a session drummer. The following year saw KATATONIA finally maintain a stable lineup. With RENSKE (vocals), NYSTROM (guitars), Fredrik NORRMAN (guitars), Mattias NORRMAN (bass) and Daniel LILJEKVIST (drums) as a tight unit, the band released "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" in 2001, an album that pushed the band further away from their doom metal roots and towards a more alternative metal style in the vein of groups such as A PERFECT CIRCLE. The band ended that year on a high note, touring with OPETH. In 2003, the band released "Viva Emptiness", further increasing not only their shift in style, but general popularity as well as they toured relentlessly during the months after that release. In 2006, "The Great Cold Distance" was released, and being their biggest success commercially and critically up to that point, there was a moment of crisis as to what direction the b...
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Night is the New DayNight is the New Day
Extra tracks · Special Edition
PEACEVILLE 2017
$9.63
$6.69 (used)
Dead End KingsDead End Kings
PEACEVILLE 2018
$8.01
$10.16 (used)
The Fall Of HeartsThe Fall Of Hearts
PEACEVILLE 2017
$9.75
$3.02 (used)
The Great Cold DistanceThe Great Cold Distance
PEACEVILLE 2017
$11.51
$6.40 (used)
Sanctitude [Blu-ray]Sanctitude [Blu-ray]
KSCOPE 2017
$10.69
$7.52 (used)
Dance Of December SoulsDance Of December Souls
Extra tracks · Remastered
PEACEVILLE 2017
$8.72
$9.00 (used)
For Funerals To Come..For Funerals To Come..
PEACEVILLE 2017
$9.38
$11.84 (used)
Tonights DecisionTonights Decision
Remastered · Extra tracks
PEACEVILLE 2017
$7.76
$1.62 (used)
Viva Emptiness ( 10th Anniversary Edition + Bonus Track )Viva Emptiness ( 10th Anniversary Edition + Bonus Track )
PEACEVILLE 2017
$9.92
$12.85 (used)
Last Fair Deal Gone DownLast Fair Deal Gone Down
PEACEVILLE 2018
$4.30
$4.76 (used)
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KATATONIA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KATATONIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 38 ratings
Dance of December Souls
1993
3.73 | 37 ratings
Brave Murder Day
1996
3.90 | 30 ratings
Discouraged Ones
1998
3.51 | 30 ratings
Tonight's Decision
1999
4.38 | 50 ratings
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
2001
4.21 | 48 ratings
Viva Emptiness
2003
3.93 | 55 ratings
The Great Cold Distance
2006
4.12 | 55 ratings
Night is the New Day
2009
3.80 | 56 ratings
Dead End Kings
2012
3.50 | 39 ratings
Dethroned & Uncrowned
2013
4.02 | 174 ratings
The Fall of Hearts
2016

KATATONIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.31 | 10 ratings
Live Consternation
2007
4.09 | 14 ratings
Last Fair Day Gone Night
2013
4.14 | 17 ratings
Sanctitude
2015
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Great Cold Distance (Live In Bulgaria)
2017

KATATONIA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.25 | 8 ratings
Sanctitude
2015

KATATONIA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Brave Yester Days
2004
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Black Sessions
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Discouraged Ones + Brave Murder Day
2007
5.00 | 1 ratings
Introducing Katatonia
2013

KATATONIA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Jhva Elohim Meth
1992
3.93 | 9 ratings
For Funeral To Come
1995
4.00 | 8 ratings
Sounds of Decay
1997
3.29 | 9 ratings
Saw You Drown
1998
4.43 | 7 ratings
Teargas
2001
4.20 | 5 ratings
Tonight's Music
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
My Twin
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Deliberation
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
July
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Day And Then The Shade
2010
4.17 | 6 ratings
The Longest Year
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Buidings
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Lethean
2012
4.00 | 8 ratings
Kocytean
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Proscenium
2017

KATATONIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Fall of Hearts by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 174 ratings

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The Fall of Hearts
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Dance of December Souls by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.50 | 38 ratings

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Dance of December Souls
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Considering that classic doom metal does not stand the test of time very well, I can say that Dance of December Souls is a very good example of that sub-genre!

Produced by the extreme metal guru Dan Swan÷, this album has a very good sound with rich keyboards played by Swan÷ himself. And maybe because his influence this album has some progressive and experimental passages which makes this record also interesting for prog fans who are not really into doom metal.

Let's talk about the songs!

Seven Dreaming Souls is an atmospheric and gloom intro made of strange vocals and keyboards, which leads to Gateways of Bereavement, a song which contains some acoustic guitars mixed with the typical doom metal riffs inspired by Black Sabbath, alongside a good keyboard work and rhythm variations. All this announces that this band is a bit more than the habitual doom metal of the 90's, more progressive and experimental than similar acts.

In Silence Enshrined has a very melancholic beginning with beautiful doubled guitars. But after that another good doom metal riff appears, accompanied by powerful drums. Later, we can find another entanglement of riffs and fine melodies, with even sections which sound like traditional heavy metal.

Without God has another strong riff and double pedal drumming, followed by some terrifying growls and melodies. But at this stage of the record, the music starts to be a bit repetitive. This track is one of the best of the album, but it sounds just like more of the same. Luckily, Elohim Meth acts like a blow off valve with its instrumental acoustic melody. Very good!

Velvet Thorns is a 13-minute-long tour-de-force of beautiful doom melodies and intricated guitars and keyboards, with another heavy metal sections towards the end. Good but irregular. And the same can be said about Tomb of Insomnia. If you like the rest of the album, you will like this last song? Otherwise you'll be bored to death, despite its (ridiculous) Love Story homage at the end.

Dancing December closes the album with a beautiful set of guitars and keyboard, incorporating a final riff where we can foresee what Katatonia would do in the future, once their doom years were done.

Conclusion: Dance of December Souls is not the typical doom metal album, despite being considered a classic of this genre. Just like in The Silent Enigma from Anathema here we can find a band trying to achieve new textures for this genre, incorporating tons of keyboards and progressive passages. The result is an album hard to listen for classic prog-rock fans, but a gem for progressive and experimental metal lovers.

Nevertheless, I can't give more than three stars because its repetitiveness and some dull moments, especially in the longest songs, which I find too irregular and unnecessarily long.

Best Tracks: Gateways of Bereavement, Without God, Dancing December.

My Rating: ***

 Dance of December Souls by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.50 | 38 ratings

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Dance of December Souls
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Caleb9000

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.

 Brave Murder Day by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.73 | 37 ratings

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Brave Murder Day
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another decent death-doom release from Katatonia, Brave Murder Day is notably mostly for the extended suite formed by the title triptych of Brave, Murder, and Day; beyond that, it's more competent and entertaining death-doom material, and whilst I'm not so hot on the direction they took after this, it was probably the right call to shift direction at this point. The material here is not quite as fresh as the debut, and there's a sense towards the end of the album that Katatonia have done more or less all they can do in this particular vein and needed to look to new musical horizons if they were to find new inspiration.
 For Funeral To Come by KATATONIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1995
3.93 | 9 ratings

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For Funeral To Come
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is an EP that Katatonia put out to tide over their fans who were eagerly awaiting the followup to their debut, Dance of December Souls. It isn't quite as interesting as the material on that album - it's a clutch of competently done death-doom pieces that don't quite have the gravitas of the December Souls material - so putting this out as an EP was probably the right call. Dan Swan÷ of Edge of Sanity guests once again, though he only provides the engineering rather than making the sort of keyboard contributions which he spiced up December Souls with. On the whole fun, but not one I would give top priority to.
 Dance of December Souls by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.50 | 38 ratings

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Dance of December Souls
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Katatonia are one of those death-doom bands who, like Anathema and Paradise Lost, more or less walked away from the death-doom subgenre after the early phases of their career. (In particular, in playing an alternative-progressive metal style influenced by Pink Floyd, they seem to have been riding the Anathema bandwagon just a wee bit.)

Listening to Dance of December Souls, I find this a crying shame, because back in the day Katatonia seem to have really nailed the death-doom style and given their own spin to it, especially when it comes to the inclusion of light progressive elements here and there.

In particular, there's some delicate keyboard work from special guest Dan Swan÷ that on the one hand plays a similar role to the violin in early My Dying Bride in terms of providing a beautiful, haunting counterpoint to the more gruesome and abrasive aspects of their sound, but which inevitably gives the album its own particular texture. On top of that and some of the gothic influences that more or less all death-doom bands seem to slip in sooner or later, there's also some influence that seeps in here and there from early black metal, creating perhaps the richest bouquet of carefully chosen and arranged styles offered in death-doom at the time.

As a result, whilst latter-day Katatonia is certainly not my cup of tea, I'm going to have to make a point of exploring their early discography, because clearly there's some gems here that I've been overlooking.

 The Fall of Hearts by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 174 ratings

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The Fall of Hearts
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Dead End Kings by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.80 | 56 ratings

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Dead End Kings
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Last Fair Day Gone Night by KATATONIA album cover Live, 2013
4.09 | 14 ratings

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Last Fair Day Gone Night
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In my opinion this is the live album to get if your into KATATONIA. It was 2011 and it was their 20th anniversary as a band but also the 10th anniversary of one of their greatest releases "Last Fair Deal Gone Down". So they did some special shows including this one at a venue called "Koko" in London, England. It's a two disc affair with the first cd being the complete "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" recording in it's entirety while the second disc features the majority of tracks(5) from what was the most recent album at the time "Night Is The New Day".

It's cool though that they picked at least one song from every album up to that point except for the debut. Although "Viva Emptiness" doesn't get a song but there is one called "Wait Outside" which is from the sessions from that album and it was released on the compilation called "Black sessions" which i bought when it first came out and I highly recommend it. The other track that isn't on a studio album that was included here is "Dissolving Bonds" which is from "The Great Cold Distance" sessions and was included on the EP "My Twin". Another great job from Travis Smith on the cover art keeping the same style from "The Great Cold Distance" and "Night Is The New Day".

Disc one is all of "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" and it's true to the original for the most part as is the second disc. I gave 5 stars to this studio recording and it comes across so well played live as these tracks all kick ass in one way or another. Just a fantastic live version of that record. So many amazing tracks like "Chrome", "We Must Bury You", "The Future Of Speech", "Passing Bird", "Don't Tell A Soul" etc.

Disc two opens surprisingly with "Brave" from "Brave Murder Day". Surprising because I didn't expect to hear growls but they are all over this 10 1/2 minute track. A crowd pleaser no doubt. Some other highlights are "My Twin" a song I really enjoy. Check out Jonas yelling to the crowd out of emotion I'm thinking at one point. We get "I Break" from "Discouraged Ones" which I really appreciate. I have heard "Wait Outside" before from "The Black Sessions" release. This is a really good tune where they contrast the heavy and mellow oh so well. "The Longest Year" brings a lot of emotion to the table for me, and it's from "Night Is The New Day".

July" just kills and it's from "The Great Cold Distance". An amazing track! "Dissolving Bonds" from the "My Twin" EP is heavy with active drum work and I like how the guitar cries out over top. Big finish to this one. And I can't forget "Forsaker" the closer from "Night Is The New Day" and the closer of this concert. Heavy and dark the perfect way to end the show. I like how the crowd starts clapping after 3 minutes as they are so into this. Jonas then screams to the audience when it ends "Thankyou, goodnight... thankyou so much London!" as we hear the crowd yell and clap their approval. Easily 4 stars and the live album to get from these gloomy Swedes.

 Night is the New Day by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.12 | 55 ratings

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Night is the New Day
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars KATATONIA have changed musical directions a few times over their careers which has probably cost them fans but at the same time gained them some new ones. This is one of three major changes in their sound. This is where they have increased the atmosphere big time and at the same time we get less hooks and less metal. It was pretty shocking hearing this one for the first time, I was really disappointed. So it's surprising even to me that I'm giving this 4 stars but it is a grower once I got used to this new style. It's kind of a cross between PORCUPINE TREE and OPETH's "Damnation" album which should have meant instant love from yours truly, but it did take several spins to get to that point of being impressed with what I was hearing. And there's no going back now as there's this beauty about this recording that I can't deny. I love that it clocks in at under 50 minutes as well. Again Travis Smith did the cover art, and he's gone with the same style as the artwork on "The Great Cold Distance".

"Forsaker" opens with sounds that pulsate but they are soon crushed by the heaviness that quickly follows. It then settles into a psychedelic haze with vocals. Dreamy stuff. It's more powerful on the chorus. These guys are so good at contrasting the heavy with the mellow. It sounds like the guitar on "Damnation" after 3 minutes as we get a melancholic and laid back guitar solo. It's heavy duty at 3 1/2 minutes to the end. "The Longest Year" has relaxed vocals and sound to start as strings join in as well. It kicks in hard before 1 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop but they are back before 2 minutes. I really like this passage and it will return late to end the song.

"Idle Blood" was a tune that I instantly disliked the first time I heard it but now it's a favourite. Jonas almost sounds like Steven Wilson when he sings on this one. Some nice bass here and man this song is so uplifting and moving. Faint vocals 3 1/2 minutes really bring PT to mind. "Onward To Battle" features sounds that echo as the drums pound then the vocals join in. This is laid back with plenty of depth. I'm so moved by the chorus as themes are repeated.

"Liberation" opens with heavy riffs and sound followed by a calm with reserved vocals and little else. Why does the line "I've changed my name but I will pass it on to you" touch me so much? The heavy and mellow are contrasted and it's very PT-like before 3 minutes during this heavy section. So good! "The Promise Of Deceit" has lyrics that I really appreciate. It does build some but settles on the chorus each time. It's heavier before 3 1/2 minutes to the end. "Nephilim" is heavy and dark with disturbing lyrics about a Nephilim coming for her son as he comes from the skies through the foul air to take this son who's morals have declined. The relaxed sections are great contrasts to the dark and heavy passages. "New Night" is heavy and mid-paced. I like that Swedish melancholy as felt through the guitar and lyrics especially. Keys 3 1/2 minutes in then it kicks back into a moving section once again.

"Inheritance" opens with strings as reserved vocals join in. Drums too then the vocals stop after 2 minutes as the strings return. Contrasts continue. I like the spacey atmosphere 3 minutes in. "Day And Then The Shade" is heavy and fairly uptempo to start. When the vocals arrive before a minute it makes me smile, such a feel good section. Contrasts continue. "Departer" is such a great way to end this album as we get this ominous sound and it's dark. A sad and melancholic tune to say the least with haunting vocals thrown in. It does seem to brighten some before 3 1/2 minutes reminding me of PT. It's like something is about to happen during this instrumental section but it never does. Vocals are back after 4 minutes.

After getting used to this new direction that KATATONIA have moved on to I've certainly been won over with these meaningful songs. It's far from a perfect album though and I'd rate it down quite a bit from some of my favourite KATATONIA albums. A solid 4 stars regardless.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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