Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

KATATONIA

Progressive Metal • Sweden


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Katatonia picture
Katatonia biography
Founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1991 - Still active as of 2019

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 ÅKERFELDT 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...
read more

KATATONIA forum topics / tours, shows & news


KATATONIA forum topics Create a topic now
KATATONIA tours, shows & news Post an entries now

KATATONIA Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to KATATONIA

Buy KATATONIA Music



More places to buy KATATONIA music online

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)

3.43 | 53 ratings
Dance Of December Souls
1993
3.78 | 63 ratings
Brave Murder Day
1996
3.87 | 52 ratings
Discouraged Ones
1998
3.36 | 53 ratings
Tonight's Decision
1999
4.26 | 85 ratings
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
2001
4.29 | 80 ratings
Viva Emptiness
2003
3.98 | 90 ratings
The Great Cold Distance
2006
4.05 | 81 ratings
Night Is The New Day
2009
4.01 | 83 ratings
Dead End Kings
2012
3.46 | 52 ratings
Dethroned & Uncrowned
2013
4.04 | 224 ratings
The Fall Of Hearts
2016
3.63 | 76 ratings
City Burials
2020

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

3.34 | 13 ratings
Live Consternation
2007
4.05 | 21 ratings
Last Fair Day Gone Night
2013
4.16 | 25 ratings
Sanctitude
2015
3.86 | 7 ratings
The Great Cold Distance (Live In Bulgaria)
2017
3.39 | 9 ratings
Dead Air
2020

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

4.46 | 13 ratings
Sanctitude
2015

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Brave Yester Days
2004
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Black Sessions
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Discouraged Ones + Brave Murder Day
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
Introducing Katatonia
2013
3.74 | 10 ratings
Mnemosynean
2021

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

3.00 | 4 ratings
Jhva Elohim Meth
1992
3.06 | 13 ratings
For Funeral To Come
1995
3.70 | 10 ratings
Sounds of Decay
1997
3.28 | 10 ratings
Saw You Drown
1998
4.00 | 8 ratings
Teargas
2001
3.86 | 7 ratings
Tonight's Music
2001
3.00 | 3 ratings
My Twin
2006
3.33 | 3 ratings
Deliberation
2006
3.67 | 3 ratings
July
2007
3.50 | 2 ratings
Day And Then The Shade
2010
4.00 | 8 ratings
The Longest Year
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Buidings
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Lethean
2012
4.00 | 10 ratings
Kocytean
2014
4.50 | 2 ratings
Proscenium
2017

KATATONIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mnemosynean by KATATONIA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
3.74 | 10 ratings

BUY
Mnemosynean
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Mnemosynean" is a compilation 2-disc album release by Swedish metal act Katatonia. The compilation was released through Peaceville Records in October 2021. It´s a compilation of B-sides, rarities, and remixes released to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the band.

The first disc features 12 tracks and a total playing time of 73:16 minutes. All tracks are B-sides, outtakes, and rarity tracks from the latter part of the band´s discography (from 2006 onwards). 6 of the 12 tracks have previously been compiled on the 2014 "Kocytean" compilation EP. Disc 1 opens with the two most different sounding tracks in "Vakaren" and "Sistere", which are bonus tracks from the limited edition version of "The Fall of Hearts" (2016). Both are mellow and melancholic tracks, and in the case of "Vakaren", a song featuring Swedish language lyrics, which shows a different side of Katatonia. The remaining tracks are more "regular" heavy melancholic Katatonia tracks, featuring their signature mellow/loud, heavy/soft songwriting approach. The quality is generally high, although some tracks stand out more than others.

Disc 2 features B-sides, rarities, and remixes of tracks predominantly from 2006 backwards. It´s a massive disc featuring no less than 15 tracks and a total playing time of 86:52 minutes. The listener will experience more difference between the tracks in terms of production values and music styles compared to the material on Disc 1, where the sound production on most tracks are relatively similar in style. This is of course not surprising if you´re familiar with the early part of Katatonia´s discography and the very different sounding production values of their early releases. Katatonia have almost always released good quality non-album material, and the material on Disc 2 is definitely an interesting addition to the more well known album compositions. So up until the last five tracks of the compilation, "Mnemosynean" is arguably an interesting and good quality B-Sides/Rarities compilation. The closing five tracks are however remixes of tracks like "Idle Blood" and "Soil's Song", which to my ears are only included for the most hardcore fans. The rest of us can easily skip those tracks and enjoy the remainder of the compilation, without experiencing any kind of loss.

Upon conclusion "Mnemosynean" does a lot of things right. First of all it presents the listener to a lot of "hard to get" and slightly different sounding tracks (very deep cuts if you will), which in most cases could well have been included on the respective releases they are outtakes from, while a few are of the more experimental kind and probably wouldn´t have fit on one of the regular album releases. The 10 minutes long gothic rock influenced "Scarlet Heavens" is probably the best example of that. Having those tracks compiled on one release without "best of" tracks (like Katatonia for example did on "The Black Sessions" (2005)) is a great way to have access to the songs. The remixes unfortunately drag the compilation down and I´d say "Mnemosynean" would have been a better compilation without them. A 4 star (80%) rating is still fully deserved though, as "Mnemosynean" is otherwise loaded with high quality compositions.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Viva Emptiness by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.29 | 80 ratings

BUY
Viva Emptiness
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars "Viva Emptiness" is the 6th full-length studio album by Swedish alternative/doom/progressive rock/metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in April 2003. It´s the successor to "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" from 2001 and features the same five-piece lineup who recorded the predecessor. It was the first time in Katatonia´s history (up until then) that they had the same lineup on two consecutive album releases. 15 tracks were written and recorded during the sessions, and 13 tracks made the album. "Wait Outside" did not appear on the original version of the album, but appears on later reissues, and was first made available on the 2005 "The Black Sessions" compilation album. "Consternation", which ended up being re-recorded and released on "The Great Cold Distance (2006)", didn´t make the cut for "Viva Emptiness" either.

The 13 tracks which did make the cut for the album, are a very interesting and quite different listen from the material on "Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)". While the band did come into their own on the predecessor they weren´t completely done developing their sound, and while "Viva Emptiness" overall continues the alternative rock/metal style with a melancholic atmosphere of "Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)", it´s generally a darker, heavier, and more gritty release. Keyboards have a more central place in the soundscape along with heavy guitars, powerful drumming, and Jonas Renkse´s soft voice and melancholic lyrics and delivery. The music is very dynamic though and the band still perfectly master the contrasts of light/dark and heavy/mellow.

"Viva Emptiness" opens with the strong trio of tracks "Ghost of the Sun", "Sleeper", and "Criminals" and the high quality generally continues on the remaining tracks of the album (a few tracks are slightly sup par to the best material on the album, but it´s a minor issue). Other highlights include "Burn the Remembrance", "Evidence", and the beautiful melancholic "Omerta". The instrumental "Inside the City of Glass" closes the album on a highly atmospheric note, and it appears a bit strange to me, that the band would chose to add vocals/lyrics to that particular track (which is perfect as it is) on the 10th anniversary version of the album. Truth be told I haven´t heard the version with vocals yet though, so it may be great, and I´m just complaining because I´m a grumpy old man...

"Viva Emptiness" features a dark, gritty, and relatively raw sounding production, although everything is audible in the mix. It´s just compared to the last couple of releases, the volume has definitely been dialed to 11 and sometimes the loud distorted parts are pretty noisy. Personally I enjoy the heaviness of the sound and the attitude Katatonia display on "Viva Emptiness", but it´s a bit less subtle than what is generally heard on the direct predecessor. "Viva Emptiness" marks the end of what I consider the mark II era of Katatonia, as they would change their sound again on "The Great Cold Distance (2006)". In that respect "Viva Emptiness" is a playful transition release, which shows Katatonia toying with time signatures, new timbres and dynamics, keyboards/synths/programming, and overall adventurous songwriting. This is anything but formulaic and it´s one of the more demanding, intriguing, and eclectic releases in the band´s discography. To my ears it´s their magnum opus. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.63 | 76 ratings

BUY
City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Swedish rockers Katatonia deliver a striking collection of melancholic and atmospheric art rock songs on their eleventh studio release - 2020's 'City Burials', the band's first album after their short 2018-19 hiatus. The brainchild of band leader Jonas Renkse, this haunting album has to be not only one of their most experimental and sonically enticing outputs, but also one of the most finely produced and modern-sounding offerings from Katatonia's already broad catalogue. Each of the eleven songs on this excellent studio album contribute to the overall gripping darkness that encapsulates 'City Burials', also solidifying the impressions one might get from the starkly unsettling but absolutely gorgeous album art photography, which happens to be the work of the very talented Lasse Hoile, known for his work with Steven Wilson over the years.

Quite elegant in its sound, 'City Burials' impresses with the majestic use of the keyboards, the prevalent (and occasionally exotic) ambience and the unnerving electronic sensibility, all of these aspects contributing to the very gloomy but enticing audio treat that is unfolding before the listener. A drastic departure from the more stripped-down rock attitude of its predecessor, 2016's 'The Fall of Hearts', it seems like Katatonia have really taken their time to reflect upon what the band could do more in terms of songwriting, and how they could expand the scope of their music, making 'City Burials' a very bold move that signifies how truly progressive the Swedes still are.

Not a single poor composition here, each one of the forty-eight minutes of this record is wisely used, resulting in one of the most focused rock albums of the year. Opener 'Heart Set to Divide' is a very strong rocker that might serve as a link between the band's previous release and this new one, as it sets a grim tone for the rest of the album. 'Behind the Blood', on the other hand, impresses with the swiveling guitars and the almost-tribal drum sounds. The band follow this up with 'Lacquer', another phenomenal song, that almost has an art-pop edge, then comes 'Rein', one of the heavier songs on 'City Burials' and one of the strongest choruses, too. Just four songs in, and the album is already severely impressive - the atmosphere, the variety, the lyrics, and the songwriting, all on a very high level. Other highlights are certainly 'The Winter of Our Passing', 'Flicker' and 'Neon Epitaph', but as it was mentioned before, each song on this album is just too good.

'City Burials' is very innovative, very far-reaching and forward-thinking, very emotional and quite well-written, or in a word, excellent. It might a couple of years, or maybe even a decade or so, for this album to truly be appreciated for what it is, but Katatonia have certainly achieved something special here, as this should rank among their best works, as this beautiful dark record is highly recommended!

 Mnemosynean by KATATONIA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
3.74 | 10 ratings

BUY
Mnemosynean
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars With their latest release Mnemosynean, Swedish prog metal masters Katatonia take us on a trip down memory lane. This double-disc album is a compilation of b-sides, bonus tracks and remixes that span their entire thirty-year career, from the early days when they were a nascent death metal band trying to find ways to push the boundaries of the genre, to the current times where they are globally recognized as one of the frontrunners of the progressive post-metal phenomenon.

The album is cleverly organized in reverse chronological order, starting in disc 1 with several outtakes from the recording sessions of The Fall of Hearts, and ending in disc 2 with a track recorded back in 1994 immediately after the release of the band's debut LP Dance of December Souls. Disc 2 also contains a handful of remixes, mostly of tracks from The Great Cold Distance, which nicely round off the album. The broad scope of the compilation gives listeners a fantastic bird's eye view of the evolution of Katatonia's sound over the years, which is a nice reminder of how far this band has come from their early death metal days. It also shows that the seeds of the band's current sonic incarnation were sown long time ago, when already in the mid-1990s Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renkse were experimenting with acoustic soundscapes and mellower musical forms, breaking away from the metallic assaults of the death metal canon.

The most remarkable aspect of Mnemosynean is that, in many cases, the quality of the b-sides included in the collection is as high as that of the tracks that found a home in the band's full-length albums. As explained in the detailed track-by-track liner notes compiled by the band members themselves, the exclusion of these songs was often due to timing issues: several of the tracks included here were written late in the recording session of an album and there was simply not enough studio time to record them in time for the release of the record. In other cases, the songs were excluded because the band felt they did not fit well within the track-list of their current album, occasionally because they were slightly more left-field than your typical Katatonia's song. Only in a rare few cases the band decided to leave them out because they did not like them much - as Anders Nystrom openly admits for "Fractured", for example.

The high quality of the material included in the compilation ensures a highly enjoyable and exciting listening experience, with plenty of highlights. "Vakaren" and "Sistere" are fantastic songs that take us straight back to the progressive leanings of The Fall of Hearts, and are as good as anything that you can find on that record. "Wide Awake in Quietus" is taken from the same sessions, but it has a more alternative rock feel that reminds me of The Pineapple Thief. This track also features a cool guitar solo from Paradise Lost's Greg Mackintosh. Meanwhile, "Unfurl" is a Katatonia's classic and a staple of their live concerts. It is astonishing to read that this track was coarsely put together by producer David Castillo in his apartment over his laptop computer. "Wait Outside" is another great song, taken from the Viva Emptiness recording sessions. Its three minutes effortlessly recreate the jarring sense of uneasiness that album is soaked in.

Elsewhere, things take a slightly quirkier and more unconventional turn. On "Night Comes Down" the Swedes give the Katatonia-treatment to a Judas Priest's ballad from their 1984 album Defenders of the Faith. It is a sombre, melancholic track that feels surprisingly close to some of the material Katatonia have released on their most recent record, City Burials. "O How I Enjoy the Light" is another cover, this time by American singer-songwriter Will Oldham. Recorded spontaneously in 2001, this moving, largely acoustic track harks back to the sound of Tonight's Decision, and is a powerful reminder of the breadth of Katatonia's influences already back in the 1990s. I also want to mention "The Act of Darkening", a dark meditation inspired by the Chernobyl disaster where the band experiments with acoustic ambiance and sophisticated vocal harmonies, in a similar way as they did on their acoustic album Dethroned & Uncrowned. The result is simply breath-taking, making this song my preferred track of the album.

Speaking of quirky material, it's impossible not to mention "Scarlet Heavens" where Katatonia take an unexpected gothic turn. As Nystrom explains in the liner notes, this song was recorded after the success of the band's debut album Dance of December Souls, when Katatonia felt they wanted to explore new sonic possibilities. The end result was "Scarlet Heavens", a song that sounds like a cross between The Sisters of Mercy and Type O Negative. While the band eventually did not follow up on this sonic experiment, it is fascinating to listen to it today.

As a long-time fan of the band, I had lots of fun listening to this compilation. So, should you plunk down your hard-earned cash for it? This is a pertinent question, given how most of the tracks included here have been released before in one form or another (as bonus tracks of the special editions of the full-length albums, as b-sides of singles, on EPs, etc.). So if you have been following this band for years, you may already own a large chunk of the material on offer here, as I do. Personally, I like the idea of having these songs all organized in the same physical release and I did greatly enjoy the "time travel" experience of going through the material in reverse chronological order. Plus, I did not already own all of these songs, so there have been a few pleasant surprises on this record too. The addition of insightful line notes written by band members and producers was also a definite bonus for me, and so was the detailed essay included in the booklet written by music journalist Eleanor Goodman. Ultimately, as it is often the case with these compilation releases, it comes down to personal preferences whether you see this as worthy purchase or not. But if you do decide to give it a spin, rest assured that this is a high-quality release, meticulously put together and containing some top-notch material from one of the most accomplished progressive post-metal acts out today - so disappointed you shall not be!

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

 The Fall Of Hearts by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.04 | 224 ratings

BUY
The Fall Of Hearts
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by progtime1234567

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.

Katatonia flirted with progressive rock on their previous couple of albums, but they never fully embraced it until The Fall Of Hearts. What we have here is a beautiful piece of progressive rock/metal that never gets boring, even with its hour plus length. The album evokes, at least for me, a cold winter's morning or a gloomy, rainy and foggy day. That would be the perfect environment to set the tone for The Fall Of Hearts. Musically, the band shows an impressive ability when it comes to performing, handling complex and extended - length songs with relative ease. The vocals are amazing too, and they fit almost perfectly with the overall timbre of the album.

Love darker progressive rock/metal, look no further. I certainly do. Are you a fan of Porcupine Tree? Do you enjoy the softer parts of Opeth's music? If you said yes to one or both of these, this album should be the perfect fit. Is The Fall Of Hearts a modern progressive rock classic? I think so. Is Katatonia worth your time? Hard yes.

 Last Fair Deal Gone Down by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.26 | 85 ratings

BUY
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Necrotica
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars How many of you remember listening to your first album that was truly dark? And I'm not just talking about some brooding breakup songs by an arena rock band, but something in which you can actually feel the dread and melancholy pouring out of the speakers? I can safely say that I remember my first experience: with Katatonia's 2006 effort The Great Cold Distance. The moment "Leaders" blasted its way into my stereo with its grim atmosphere and doomy chugging, it felt like I entered a different world entirely. The songwriting was (and still is) fantastic, but the vibe was what really set it apart. Between the hopelessness in Jonas Renkse's crooning and the often sluggish-yet- diverse songwriting, Katatonia sparked my love and fascination with the darker side of music as a whole. But little did I know back then that the entirety of the band's catalog was a goldmine of alternative doom, and little did I know that my favorite record by them wouldn't even be one of the records I grew up with.

Gradually I turned back the clock on my Katatonia, checking out their back catalogue to get the full scope of their evolution. As I went further and further back, the band's original death/doom roots were becoming more and more apparent. But, of course, one thing never really changed: the atmosphere. Regardless, as both the alternative and doom metal sides of the band are incredibly well-executed, I often found that the records that combined both styles would be my favorites in their body of work. And from that thought process emerged my love for the majesty that was Last Fair Deal Gone Down. It was a gradual process, but eventually this one won over the others. Basically, if I had to describe the album in a nutshell, it would be "alternative doom metal with hints of progressive rock"; of course, there's a bit of irony in the fact that this sounds nothing like the Robert Johnson song of the same name. The experience is a beautiful synthesis of melodious hooks, subtle shifts in rhythm and texture, and downtuned riffing that really drives the melancholy and aggression home. That being said, the songcraft displayed here is simply incredible, and some instrumental oddities (such as the orchestration in "The Future of Speech" or the mellotron in "Don't Tell a Soul") expand on the musical ideas quite a bit.

But right from the beginning, Last Fair Deal Gone Down lets us know it's going to be an experience. The soft opening guitar licks of "Dispossession" sound like a blue sky immediately shifting to a dull gray, as if distorting our very world around us. What I'm saying is: the atmosphere is [%*!#]ing potent on this one. Granted, the tight riffing and intelligent songwriting pull it through just as well. The way that opener builds and builds before even reaching its first verse is admirable, especially in how well Katatonia can keep expanding on the same motif without making it boring. Hell, "The Future of Speech" and "We Must Bury You" place much more emphasis on lingering on the soft ballad-like sections instead, and it's just as effective. The cool thing about Katatonia in general is that they can use their technical prowess and diverse compositions to give us endless variations on the same mood. They might constantly be dark and dismal, but they've shown us that it can be expressed in such a variety of ways. This is even true for "Sweet Nurse" and "Teargas," which happen to be the most accessible and pop-oriented cuts of the bunch. If Katatonia ever had singles (perhaps if they started around the grunge era?), these lean slabs of alternative metal would probably make it on a greatest hits compilation. That's not a bad thing, of course, as the catchy choruses and Nirvana-esque "soft verses, booming choruses" they employ are memorable and well-executed.

I think the combination of atmosphere and diversity are really what put this above the other Katatonia releases. The band's whole discography is worth a listen, but there's often been an issue regarding the band being "too consistent and same-y." It's not an unfounded claim either, as the whole "doom-laden alternative metal" thing has been their trademark sound since Discouraged Ones all the way back in 1998. So it's a tried-and-true sound by this point. But in Last Fair Deal Gone Down, every song has its purpose in the tracklisting. Even the shorter pieces, such as the rhythmically-varied "We Must Bury You" and the slow funeral dirge of "Passing Bird" display variation in both the songwriting and mood of the album. The latter is particularly interesting, as the lyrics take on a more lifeless nature as Jonas drearily sings "too much [%*!#]ing emo; it's false, I know." But honestly, my personal favorite song on offer here is the midtempo chugger "I Transpire." The entire track has lyrical themes of being trapped and constricted by people who tap into the narrator's fears and worries, and the dark ambience behind Anders Nydstrom's guitar leads is so thick and palpable that the chorus comes off as both chilling and beautiful. If you just listen to one song off the album, I highly recommend that one.

But if you enjoy either alternative metal or doom metal, I really do recommend the entire thing. Last Fair Deal Gone Down is one of the most gorgeous and brutally honest depictions of melancholy I've ever heard in rock music, and the music backing it all is just as strong. Katatonia were at the peak of their powers here, and the melding of the band's alternative future and doom metal past was at its most balanced and fleshed-out state. This album combined the band's roots with their eventual stylistic shift, but it somehow captured the best of both in the process. I'm grateful for Katatonia's entire body of work and its powerful expressions of honest emotions, but Last Fair Deal Gone Down is the one I'm most grateful for.

 Dead End Kings by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.01 | 83 ratings

BUY
Dead End Kings
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Necrotica
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 Dead Air by KATATONIA album cover Live, 2020
3.39 | 9 ratings

BUY
Dead Air
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Dead Air" is a live album/DVD release by Swedish metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in November 2020. It´s a double live album release featuring a third DVD disc with a visual presentation of the performance. The album is a "live in the studio recording", recorded on May 9th, 2020 at Studio Gröndahl in Stockholm, Sweden. "Dead Air" contains 20 tracks and a total playing time of 87:45 minutes.

The tracklist, which was voted for by the band´s worldwide fanbase, predominantly features tracks from the most recent (five) album releases, although a few tracks from "Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)" and "Viva Emptiness (2003)" have also made their way to the setlist. There´s however nothing on "Dead Air" from the first four albums by the band.

What you notice right away when listening to "Dead Air", is how well produced the album is. This is an incredibly well sounding live recording, and it´s obvious the band have spend time and put a lot of consideration into how they wanted to present their music. In that department "Dead Air" is a top notch release. The performances from all involved are also professional. Jonas Renkse´s vocals and melancholic vocal lines are performed with conviction and he makes enough small changes to his phrasing and notes to make these recordings stand out from the studio versions. Guitarist Anders Nyström performs some very well executed backing/harmony vocals, which provide some extra depth to the vocal part of the performance.

The visual (DVD) part of the release is of a good quality too. Katatonia are not the most exciting nor the most passionate performers on stage though and "Dead Air" is not a release which changes my opinion on that. The quiet/loud dynamics of the band´s music doesn´t always help push their music over the edge of the stage (despite the brillance of the studio versions of the material). Katatonia´s music is generally better suited for headphone listening in a dark room, rather than being experienced at a damp sweaty venue (or in this case live in a studio). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 For Funeral To Come by KATATONIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1995
3.06 | 13 ratings

BUY
For Funeral To Come
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Let's be honest.

The Nordic doom-death-metal albums of the early 90's are not aging very well. And this EP from the Swedish Katatonia is not an exception.

Despite the engineering of the extreme metal mastermind Dan Swanö, the guitars sound hollow and the keyboards dated. But that's not an exclusive problem of the first records of Katatonia, because the first offerings of Amorphis, Anathema and Opeth are more of the same in terms of sound quality and production.

Nevertheless, this EP contains two decent doom-prog metal tracks named Funeral Wedding and Shades of Emerald fields, not memorable but complex and funny enough. In the extended edition of the EP, there are two tracks recorded for a compilation which are pretty decent too, Black Erotica and Love of the Swan, which is more of a gothic melody.

So, if you are into this kind of Nordic metal of the early 90's, you will surely enjoy this "For Funerals To Come". But if you are more into prog or traditional prog-metal, you can easily avoid this EP.

My Rating: **

 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.63 | 76 ratings

BUY
City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by progtime1234567

4 stars Katatonia don't really sound the same on any of their albums because they are always changing their ever-evolving sound to what they see fit. Bands who do this aren't doing it to annoy people, (although they might unintentionally annoy some individuals) they do it because they don't feel pressured by anyone to keep playing the same thing over and over again just because their fans like it. True fans of bands who do this enjoy all the different musical styles that a band changes to on their albums. I feel this way with Katatonia. I like all the different sounds they play. It's not like Katatonia does a complete 360 on us and changes to playing emo or something like that.

City Burials is the latest studio offering by the Swedish band Katatonia. The album was released at the best possible time for an album to be released, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. What the band gave us is progressive rock and metal that is melodic, has lush and beautiful keyboards, and overall enjoyable sounds that are sure to please anyone, maybe even someone who doesn't like metal. Katatonia have been playing progressive music with skill for a while now, and it pleases people to hear such good sounds coming from a band that played Cookie Monster stuff in their early days.

Katatonia is definitely one of those bands where they sound so different on their early albums from their later albums that you can fool other people and even yourself by not thinking they're the same band. I recommend this to fans of the band who like everything they make, (AKA a real fan of the band) and people who like dark, melodic, and pretty metal. If you want to hear the bands proggier stuff, I say you listen to their previous album, The Fall of Hearts, and then come to this one. You won't regret listening to either off those albums, trust me.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.