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Katatonia - The Fall Of Hearts CD (album) cover

THE FALL OF HEARTS

Katatonia

 

Progressive Metal

4.01 | 190 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish band KATATONIA has been a staple of the metal circuit for almost 30 years, closing in fast on a dozen studio albums to their name in addition to numerous live albums, singles and EPs. A firmly and well established band, and without a doubt a household name in many circles. "The Fall of Hearts" is their most recent studio production, and was released in the spring of 2016 through UK label Peaceville Records.

While Katatonia mainly appears to be regarded as an alternative metal band, at least from what I can see, it would appear that they have taken a few steps away from that specific field come 2016. This is an album where sophisticated compositions and arrangements dominate, numerous details have been applied as dominant, supportive and subtle effects, and the album as a whole is much more of a head music than a headbanging experience, a deep and at times rather complex affair rather than one that deliver on more of a surface level. An album that have taken a lot of time and effort to create, and one that warrants the listener to spend time and some effort to get into. Progressive metal is the name of the game here, at least as I experience this production.

There's not a whole lot of typical antics to this album however, and it does cover a wee bit more ground than many other bands placed inside this context. There's plenty of room for delicate, melancholic passages for instance, where plucked guitar details, floating keyboard textures and mournful Mellotron complements the melodic and naturally melancholic voice of lead vocalist Renkse in an alluring and compelling manner. There's room for full length songs exploring such landscapes as a matter of fact, mellow and dampened excursions but with just enough of an edge and occasional subtler bite to build and maintain tension. Such arrangements also contrast the band's more dramatic and metal oriented side, as the compositions defined by this latter aspect more often than not will be an ebb and flow type of song that wanders back and forth between the gentle and elegant to the harder hitting and vibrant. As far as comparisons go, the metal side of Katatonia is to my ears much closer to the likes of Pain of Salvation than it is to traditional references such as Dream Theater or Fates Warning on this occasion, and unless the associations I get are extremely flawed today I do think there are some subtle trace elements of grunge hovering somewhere as well.

In addition there's room for occasional moments with more of a Floydian feel to them, and on a few occasions the nervous, vibrant elegance of swirling post-rock style guitars are used to good effect as well. In addition there are some subtle percussion and guitar details here and there that, for me at least, appears to have something of a folky vibe to them. There's quite a bit of diversity at play here in other words, and all the elements used and visited one way or another fits perfectly into the landscapes as well.

Those who tend to be fascinated by the melancholic side of progressive rock and progressive metal should take note of this CD, if they haven't done so already. For those not already well aware of this band, I'd suggest that those who find a band like Porcupine Tree to be just as enjoyable as Pain of Salvation are the ones who should be first in line to give this CD a spin, especially those among them who find the overall moods and atmospheres explored by the former of these to be generally alluring.

Windhawk | 4/5 |

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