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KATATONIA

Progressive Metal • Sweden


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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...
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Dance Of December SoulsDance Of December Souls
Extra tracks · Remastered
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For Funerals To Come..For Funerals To Come..
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Viva Emptiness ( 10th Anniversary Edition + Bonus Track )Viva Emptiness ( 10th Anniversary Edition + Bonus Track )
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Sanctitude [Blu-ray]Sanctitude [Blu-ray]
KSCOPE 2017
$19.98
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The Fall Of HeartsThe Fall Of Hearts
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Night is the New DayNight is the New Day
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Dead End KingsDead End Kings
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Brave Murder Day ( Lp )Brave Murder Day ( Lp )
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The Great Cold DistanceThe Great Cold Distance
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Last Fair Deal Gone Down [Vinyl]Last Fair Deal Gone Down [Vinyl]
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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 | 40 ratings
Dance Of December Souls
1993
3.72 | 43 ratings
Brave Murder Day
1996
3.95 | 35 ratings
Discouraged Ones
1998
3.39 | 39 ratings
Tonight's Decision
1999
4.29 | 60 ratings
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
2001
4.17 | 58 ratings
Viva Emptiness
2003
3.92 | 64 ratings
The Great Cold Distance
2006
4.09 | 63 ratings
Night Is The New Day
2009
3.79 | 63 ratings
Dead End Kings
2012
3.48 | 42 ratings
Dethroned & Uncrowned
2013
4.01 | 191 ratings
The Fall Of Hearts
2016

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

3.27 | 11 ratings
Live Consternation
2007
4.09 | 15 ratings
Last Fair Day Gone Night
2013
4.11 | 19 ratings
Sanctitude
2015
3.75 | 4 ratings
The Great Cold Distance (Live In Bulgaria)
2017

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

4.22 | 9 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)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Jhva Elohim Meth
1992
3.90 | 10 ratings
For Funeral To Come
1995
3.89 | 9 ratings
Sounds of Decay
1997
3.28 | 10 ratings
Saw You Drown
1998
4.25 | 8 ratings
Teargas
2001
4.00 | 6 ratings
Tonight's Music
2001
3.00 | 2 ratings
My Twin
2006
4.00 | 2 ratings
Deliberation
2006
3.50 | 2 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
 Tonight's Decision by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.39 | 39 ratings

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Tonight's Decision
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Tonight´s Decision" is the 4th full-length studio album by Swedish alternative/doom/progressive metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in August 1999. It´s the successor to "Discouraged Ones" from 1998 and there´s been a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor. Bassist Micke Oretoft has left (after a short stint with the band) and hasn´t been replaced, so guitarist Fredrik Norrman handles the bass on the album in addition to playing guitar. Lead vocalist Jonas Renkse has decided to solely focus on singing and therefore the drums are played by session musician Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Bloodbath...etc.).

Stylistically the material on "Tonight´s Decision" continue the sad/melancholic and heavy doom laden metal style of "Discouraged Ones (1998)", although an alternative rock edge has sneaked in. The album opens with the extremely depressive "For My Demons", with Renkse, singing out his soul on the chorus, with the lyric line: "You would never sleep at night, if you knew what I've been through". The man literally sounds like he is crying while he is singing and his vocal delivery is pretty surely an aquired taste. Some will find it weak and pathetic, while others will fully embrace the deeply emotional and melancholic performance. I´ve heard both opinions expressed. Personally I respect Renkse and his voice and singing style, but on this particular album he sometimes takes his approach a bit too far towards the pathetic.

"Tonight´s Decision" is otherwise a good quality release by Katatonia, featuring high level musicianship, a well sounding production, and decent songwriting. The latter could have been much more memorable though, and there are generally a few too many tracks on the album, which don´t stand out much. Highlights include "For My Demons", "Right Into the Bliss", and the Jeff Buckley cover "Nightmares by the Sea". Upon conclusion "Tonight´s Decision" is an album featuring both great moments and less appealing ones. To my ears it´s among the band´s least interesting releases but a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Discouraged Ones by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.95 | 35 ratings

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Discouraged Ones
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Discouraged Ones" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish alternative/doom/progressive metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Avantgarde Music in April 1998. It´s the successor to "Brave Murder Day" from 1996. There´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Micke Oretoft has joined the lineup.

Katatonia are known to shift gears and change style between albums, but the change in musical style from "Brave Murder Day (1996)" to "Discouraged Ones" is the most radical stylistic change between releases in the band´s discography. While "Brave Murder Day (1996)" was obviously a move away from the blackened death/doom of "Dance of December Souls (1993)", and featured a track like "Day, which solely featured clean vocals, it´s still predominantly a death/doom metal release. "Discouraged Ones" features nothing even remotely connected to death metal. The music is still dark, melancholic, and at times relatively heavy, but it´s not really doom metal either. Instead a sedated shoegaze influence has sneaked in and also a couple of goth rock elements. Jonas Renkse has now fully taken over the lead vocal duties in addition to his drumming role, and all vocals on the album are clean. So no growling vocals on this one.

Once you´ve listened to the opening track "I Break", you pretty much know what you´re in for on the rest of the album. In that respect "Discouraged Ones" is a slightly formulaic and one-dimensional affair. It´s not a major issue though, as Katatonia do what they do very well, and as a listener you´re immediately sucked into a world of dark depression and deep melancholia that´s quite engaging. Renkse has a heartfelt and honest emotional delivery and paired with the heavy riffs and overall bleak atmosphere of the instrumental part of the music, "Discouraged Ones" comes off as a pretty convincing release.

The musicianship is decent, although Renkse won´t win any prizes for hitting the notes clean and his drumming is also almost painfully simple at times, but the sometimes rough and unpolished delivery is actually what makes "Discouraged Ones" such an interesting release. Renkse´s restrained and almost shy vocal approach makes him sound so sad and alone in the world, that the deep melancholy of the music sounds frightingly authentic. He is wearing his feelings on the outside here, and we as listeners are invited to share his pain. To some that may sound a bit pretentious, and Renkse voice and vocal style is probably an aquired taste, but he is defining for Katatonia´s sound.

"Discouraged Ones" features a heavy and dark sound production, which suits the gloomy music well. So upon conclusion it´s a good quality release by Katatonia. It´s of course a fanbase divider as a consequence of the radical change in style since "Brave Murder Day (1996)", but to my ears it´s a bold move from the band. "Discouraged Ones" is clearly not an album featuring a fully developed sound, and in that respect it´s the definition of a transition album, but sometimes the journey is more interesting than the end destination, and while that analogy isn´t completely true when speaking of Katatonia´s discography (which features several great albums further down the line), it´s still true to the extent that "Discouraged Ones" works well as an album in its own right. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 The Fall Of Hearts by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 191 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 | 40 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 Swanö, this album has a very good sound with rich keyboards played by Swanö 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 | 40 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
3.72 | 43 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
3.90 | 10 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 Swanö 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 | 40 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 Swanö 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
4.01 | 191 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
3.79 | 63 ratings

BUY
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.

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

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