It’s finally here… This is easily the album that I have been most looking forward to all year. I only discovered Katatonia within the last year or so do to a random listen of The Great Cold Distance. I have been hooked ever since and once I found out they were going to release a new album this year, I marked my calendar in big, black marker and circled the month of November. The thing that Katatonia does better than any band in the world is their adaptation of Doom Metal (or Depressive Doom Metal if you want to get specific). While most bands scream their way through tracks doing their best Cookie Monster impression, Katatonia has some of the best clean vocals that can be found anywhere within the Metal scene. And before every Doom nerd mails me to tell me how stupid I am, there are some bands that are great within the genre, even with all that screaming. But they all take a back seat to Katatonia as far as I am concerned.
Like most people, the first thing I heard off this album was Forsaker which is the albums opening track. It’s a track that is heavy as you can get with Jonas’ wonderful clean vocals over the top. The track shows why Katatonia are the Masters of Melancholy because the track has this heavy, depressing feel to it. Most of the album gives of that vibe and while people might think that listening to depressing music is, well, depressing… they are correct. The way I see it, however, is that it’s much better to feel something instead of nothing. So many bands have no feeling, no emotion. It’s all glossy, happy stuff. Or it’s just not from the heart. Night Is The New Day is from somewhere deep inside the members of Katatonia and it comes through on every track.
After Forsaker opens things up on a high note, the next 4 songs are equally as brilliant. Onward Into Battle is my favorite track off the disk. Something about the pacing and sound of Jonas’ voice just make me all warm and fuzzy inside. The albums latter half is not quite as good as the first half, but that doesn’t make it bad. The entire album doesn’t have a track worth skipping over.
The newer elements that help to push this disk forward (when compared to past releases from the band) is the addition of more prevalent sythns. They are used to supplement almost every track here and help to give them album more weight. If you had the privilege of hearing Unfrul (released on an EP after The Great Cold Distance) you will have a good idea of what I am talking about. They haven’t turned into an electronic metal band or anything, they just use small electronic accents here and there and they work perfectly within the style of music.
If you are scared off by the words “Doom” or “Depressive Doom” in front of your metal, don’t be. Katatonia takes what everyone thinks about the genre and flips it on its head. They have some of the best clean vocals in all of metal and some of the most talented musicians. The album is pretty dark and it is pretty depressing, but as I said before, I just like that it does such a wonderful job of conveying that emotion. This might not be for everyone, but I think it’s something all metal fans should give a chance.
- 4.0 out of 5
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