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Katatonia - Dance Of December Souls CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.38 | 63 ratings

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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: ***

The Crow | 3/5 |


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