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)

3.45 | 44 ratings
Dance Of December Souls
1993
3.71 | 48 ratings
Brave Murder Day
1996
3.87 | 40 ratings
Discouraged Ones
1998
3.37 | 44 ratings
Tonight's Decision
1999
4.20 | 69 ratings
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
2001
4.15 | 68 ratings
Viva Emptiness
2003
3.94 | 76 ratings
The Great Cold Distance
2006
4.09 | 71 ratings
Night Is The New Day
2009
3.83 | 72 ratings
Dead End Kings
2012
3.47 | 47 ratings
Dethroned & Uncrowned
2013
4.02 | 209 ratings
The Fall Of Hearts
2016
3.55 | 52 ratings
City Burials
2020

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

3.32 | 12 ratings
Live Consternation
2007
4.03 | 19 ratings
Last Fair Day Gone Night
2013
4.16 | 25 ratings
Sanctitude
2015
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Great Cold Distance (Live In Bulgaria)
2017

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

4.36 | 11 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
3.75 | 8 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
3.00 | 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
 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.55 | 52 ratings

BUY
City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "City Burials" is the 12th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in April 2020. It´s the successor to "The Fall Of Hearts" from 2016 and features the same lineup who recorded the predecessor. Katatonia have a long history of changing their sound and musical style. They started out playing death/doom metal, then toyed with goth/alternative rock/metal, then started playing hard edged riffs and rhythms again, and then for a period mellowed out a bit more, although their music still featured heavy riffs and rhythms. They´ve had a relatively consistent sound on the last couple of releases though...

...and on "City Burials" they pretty much continue down that same melancholic heavy alternative rock/metal path they´ve also travelled on the last couple of releases. It´s the trademark sound of Katatonia, with dynamic use of mellow melancholic sections and heavy riff oriented sections with Jonas Renkse´s soft, emotional, and melancholic vocals and lyrics on top. It´s as bleak and melancholic as ever (ok, maybe not quite as bleak, but just as melancholic) but it´s unfortunately also a little too much by the numbers. There´s nothing wrong with the quality of the songwriting, the musicianship, or the very well sounding production job, but "City Burials" is Katatonia playing it completely safe, and I had hoped that the adventurous souls of the two mainmen behind the band Renkse and Anders Nyström (guitars, keyboards, and backing vocals) had felt the urge to try something different again. Twist their sound in a new direction and not just release another similar sounding album to the last couple of releases.

Alas "City Burials" is more of the same, and maybe that´s perfectly fine for some listeners, but I´ve come to a point where I´ve begun to find it all a bit tedious, and my alarm bells are starting to sound loud and clear that Katatonia have completely stagnated. It´s probably one of the worst critiques you can give an artist, but I´m afraid it´s warranted here. Very few artists have survived making the same album over and over again and I hope Katatonia realise that change is needed for the next album. But for all my disappointment and an attention which wanders while listening to the album, it is as mentioned above still a quality release, and it´s mostly in the context of the band´s discography that "City Burials" disappoints. Katatonia are still able to make some of the most heartfelt, melancholic, and darkly beautiful music on the scene and they do occasionally shine on "City Burials" ("Behind the Blood" is one of the highlights, as it´s a bit different from what we´re used to hear from the band). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.55 | 52 ratings

BUY
City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

4 stars Thankfully, Katatonia's hiatus announced in 2018 did not last very long. In Autumn 2019 the band let fans know they were back in the studio to record a new album. Fast forward to April 2020 and the new album, City Burials, is out. So, how is it? Certainly not an easy album to get into. The first time I listened to it, I was actually scared: I loved everything the band has done since 2001 Last Fair Deal's Gone Down, with the exception of 2009's Night Is the New Day, and that was a sad day for me. I did not want to repeat the experience with City Burials.

And in many ways City Burials reminded me of Night Is the New Day. It may be a coincidence, but the band decided to work on City Burials when they were touring Night Is the New Day in its entirety in 2019, so I wonder whether the fact that they were playing those songs night after night somehow influenced the creation process of City Burials. Another parallel between the two albums is that many of the songs on Night Is the New Day were written by Renkse, who wrote the totality of the songs on City Burials. The consequence of this is that the two albums share one uneasy characteristic: the search for melodies that are not easy to absorb immediately. Vocalist Jonas Renkse never goes for the straightforward melodic solution, neither in the verse not in the chorus of these 11 songs. Rather, he tries and finds something unusual, oblique, unexpected. The result is an album that only grows on you with repeated listening (and I mean many repetitions of active listening!).

Another similarity between City Burials and Night Is the New Day is the fact that both albums are quite heterogeneous in the style of the songs on them. Several songs on City Burials are quite far removed from metal: Lacquer, Vanishers, Lachesis are built on layers of subtle electronic arrangements, with very subdued guitars, and an alternative-pop quality to the vocals (on Vanishers Jonas is accompanied by alt-rock singer Anni Bernhard, with stunning results). In many ways all these songs reminds me of the song Departer on Night Is the New Day, another similarity between the two albums. But then we have also songs that are much heavier - probably the heaviest stuff the band has put out in a long time: Behind the Blood, for example, or Untrodden with its fast and shimmering guitar solo. Other songs are more in the style of the latter albums (Dead End Kings and The Fall of Hearts), with their melancholic overtones and unpredictable structure (another reason why the album is not easy to absorb).

Thankfully, I think that City Burials is much better than Night Is the New Day: the quality of some of the songs here is amazing (Heart Set To Divide, Behind the Blood, Lacquer, Vanishers, Untrodden are all masterpieces and among the best songs Katatonia ever made). Other songs are somewhat a step behind in quality, although in many cases they have their moments of greatness (Rein, The Winter of Our Passing, City Glaciers). In all cases the spotlight is on Renkse's vocals, which here reach new levels in terms of emotion and quality. He has improved so much from the days of Discouraged Ones!

I feel that the second part of the album is a bit weaker than the first 6/7 songs (Flicker and Neon Epitaph don't do much for me). This is a slight unevenness that perhaps could have been rectified by producer Jacob Hansen. I also feel that the production is a bit too "light". This works well in some of the more subdued tracks, but in other songs I miss a bit more heaviness and aggression. But especially more guitars: I really miss more of Nystrom's usually mesmerizing guitar leads and riffs.

But overall this is a strong album, slightly different from the previous two albums Katatonia have released, mellower, more electronic and less metal (think about the collaboration between Renkse and Bruce Soord, The Wisdom of Crowds), but still retaining all their trademark gloom and melancholy.

 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.55 | 52 ratings

BUY
City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars KATATONIA is an epic black / doom band a bit death and gothic when they were born in 1991! 21st album with live performances, 11th studio album, 4 years after their last delivery, he has worked to get the THEATER OF TRAGEDY, MY DYING BRIDE, PARADISE LOST or ANATHEMA, RETROSPECTIVE even more recently recognized. A good metallic rock with progressive connotations and dreamlike melancholic variations sprinkled with freshness. A more nervous album, less prog, more direct, lively and powerful, emotional according to Jonas. "City Burials" represents a catalyst for its creators, with a collection of titles constructed from the fragments of an ever-changing life. The finely played chords move away from the original KATATONIA sound to retransmit the band's journey, its doubts, its thoughts and its rebirth with this heavier old school metal opus and its touch of classicism. An album full of atmosphere and spleen due to the musicians' thoughts retranslating their fragile emotions about wear and the passage of time here and there. The LP and CD versions have a plus in the form of bonus tracks.

"Heart Set To Divide" starts the album with a crystalline voice, an ethereal, half-hovering, half-melancholy vibe until an energetic but controlled break; no shedding, just the tempo set to signify the band's paw; light synths, riffs, clear vocals and finally a good tune in the current doom prog; "Behind The Blood" follows with a very sharp solo from the start, then the energy of the heartbreaking title which gives the second main source of the group. "Lacquer" follows for a spleen, ambient, plaintive track, slow and bewitching tempo, already allowing to cut the atmosphere by a fracture, a shuddering track which should explode even more live in my opinion, also symphonic limit and the voice of Jonas well put forward with the different oppressive keyboards; It's pure, enjoyable, it's atmospheric.

"Kidney" then for a stronger, more languid track with Anders and Roger's guitar surrendering the notes; the well-placed battery allows the progressive break to break out at best, it's nervous and latent at the same time, the final climb can send you into a trance, be careful, the immersion is more than predictable! Note the progressive scents that emerge throughout the album without real sequences or precise breaks, the notes are bewitching, melancholic and form a musical space-time where the title seems to take on more length. "The Winter Of Our Passing" comes back to a tune in line with what I listened to at home a few years ago, also at PARADISE LOST for its heady and wonderful sound at the same time.

Already "Vanishers" signs half of the album, title here again more airy, raw, clear, a little tranquility for a romantic and atmospheric ballad in the tradition of a great ANATHEMA with its small end in decrescendo; to note Anni BERHHARD who comes to lend her voice on it with delicacy. "City Glaciers" for the biggest title, 5'30 "of gothic rhythm and variations giving a serene, calm and hypnotizing atmosphere, spleen also on a melodic and nervous side; a rhyme that also reminds me of RETROSPECTIVE at times. "Flicker" more metronomic, more choppy, with more synths too, almost oppressive and an oriental solo on the guitar, a good dense title, rhythmic with a final rise that suits me, one of my favorites.

"Lachesis" arrives for the small psyche, airy, piano interlude bringing Jonas' rocky voice to an aged and crisp soundtrack. "Neon Epitaph" for a somewhat agreed-upon opus, not bad in itself, but quite predictable; however the voice is more worked and plays with the various instruments. "Untrodden" already ends the album with a title reflecting all the knowledge of the group: clear, languid, plaintive and warm voice, syncopated rhythm peering towards pure rock, towards heavy and heavy rock with here a dreamlike guitar solo, this which is still a little lacking on the rest of the titles; an extended track full of a depressive and happy atmosphere.

Here, the chronicle of the titles is quite fast in fact, given the rather simple titles taken one by one, these same titles which, without connection between them, form a continuity by the intensity launched over the notes, by the force of the syncopated rhythm at times, limpid and icy of the other; a concept by the atmospheric environment lavished by these seasoned musicians and who begin to synthesize the substance of their dreamlike experiences to transcribe it here. An album for fans of cold and icy prog metal, that good sound that warms up with its abyssal and ethereal side, fresh and suffocating, playful and depressive, a KATATONIA that gets better with age, who would have believed that after more than 30 years of activity?

 Last Fair Deal Gone Down by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.20 | 69 ratings

BUY
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish alternative/doom/progressive rock/metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in May 2001. It´s the successor to "Tonight´s Decision" from 1999 and features a couple of lineup changes as bassist Mattias Norrman and drummer Daniel Liljekvist have been added to the lineup. It was the first stable lineup in the band´s career, and it would last on four consequtive albums.

Stylistically "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" continues the alternative rock/metal style of "Tonight´s Decision (1999)", but with a stronger focus on variation between tracks and experimentation with song structures and compositional details. Listening to "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" it becomes clear that the two direct predecessors were transitional albums, and that this album is a more complete release. Not that Katatonia stopped progressing at this point, because that´s far from true (and in that respect this album can also be called a transitional album), but to my ears this is the first Katatonia album which sounds completely satisfying, and where I don´t have any complaints about sub par sound productions, underdeveloped drumming, or untrained/uncertain clean vocal performances. They hit magic here and maybe the last couple of albums should be viewed as training exercises to hone their songwriting and playing skills, to make them ready to write and record "Last Fair Deal Gone Down".

Katatonia already stripped most of their early death/doom elements on "Discouraged Ones (1998)", and although both that album and "Tonight´s Decision (1999)" are still fairly heavy albums, they are not the most metal oriented albums. Instead it´s artists like Tool and The Cure, or maybe more correctly a combination of heavy alternative rock/metal and dark new wave/alternative rock, which is a more valid description of the band´s music. That description is true for the material on "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" too. There is a lot of use of light/dark atmospheres and heavy and mellow sections, and Jonas Renkse´s melancholic lyrics and vocal performance aren´t far removed from the most dark and depressive Robert Smith (The Cure) moments (take a listen to "Tonight´s Music" and see if you disagree). Katatonia have audible influences but they still manage to create a personal and unique sound, and they are one of those rare artists who are instantly recognisable.

The conscious decision to write a varied album with strong individual tracks while still maintaining a strong tracklist flow and album coherence works here and each track stand out clearly. While all tracks are high quality material, I´d mention the four opening tracks ("Dispossession", "Chrome", "We Must Bury You", and "Teargas"), "Tonight´s Music", and "Sweet Nurse", as some of the highlights of the album. The performances are strong on all posts, and although it´s impossible not to mention Renkse´s soft voice, and heartfelt and melancholic delivery, the instrumental performances deserve just as much praise. There is a near perfect balance between heavy loud playing and mellow softer sections, and the transitions between the two types of sections work well. Add to those elements a powerful, detailed, and well sounding production, and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" is through and through a high quality release. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.55 | 52 ratings

BUY
City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

2 stars The trend of extreme and progressive metal acts abandoning or taming their heavier impulses or more progressive ambitions for the sake of listenability is well established. When done tastefully, the progressive metal community is generally receptive. The spirit of prog, and even metal to an extent, demands continuous evolution. And prog fans are, or at least should be, wiling to accept when artists have made changes in their artistic direction.

No band has done this more tastefully than Katatonia having basically abandoned their early extreme doom metal roots for a more prog infused alternative metal sound. With City Burials, the group seems to distill their alternative sound even further' perhaps too much.

Unfortunately, City Burials merely retreads over the same territory already covered in previous releases all while stripping it of any novelty that could have possibly crept in. Jonas Renkse's attractive vocals are front and center but they fail to produce memorable hooks. The backing to Renske's vocals, despite multiple dense and cleanly produced layers of sound and instrumentation, don't seem to amount to all that much. As a listener, I can't help but feel lost in its monotony. In a word, this record is boring.

 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.55 | 52 ratings

BUY
City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars City Burials is another solid release from Katatonia. While they had a consistent sound over several releases, this latest does not provide much different from previous efforts. More music from Katatonia is always a good thing, and innovation is not a requirement as they always fit a chill mood in my collection. City Burials may just be one of the least progressive albums in their catalog, and it still features that unique blend of Doom and complex rock compositions with excellent lyrics and vocals. The best track on the album could arguably be Flicker, as it is most similar to some of their best songs over the years. However, after several listens, City Burials lacks a magical track as good as Teargas for example. It is a very good album nonetheless, and if none of their other albums existed, City Burials would be a unique experience. However, if I was recommending an entry point for newcomers to the band, I would start with 2001's Last Fair Deal Gone Down and proceed in order towards the present release. Any fan of Katatonia should not have an issue with City Burials' heavier impact, and should still find a lot of great new music to enjoy.
 The Fall Of Hearts by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 209 ratings

BUY
The Fall Of Hearts
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars Perfect (for) isolation.

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

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

 Tonight's Decision by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 44 ratings

BUY
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
3.87 | 40 ratings

BUY
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
4.02 | 209 ratings

BUY
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.

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.