The upcoming album from the Swedish 5 member outfit, with Katatonia‘s founding members Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström still on board, presents an 11 track offering to their fan-base and new listeners. This time all the album material was written and composed solely by Jonas Renkse. It fits perfectly in their tradition of creating a somehow doomed and depressive dark sound. Their lyrics add to it perfectly. So the good news is: Katatonia is what you can expect and will get from this album. The voice of singer Jonas Renkse with its dark hypnotic timbre is one major part of the band’s recognition value. The different tempos in the songs is another one. In combination with their filigree designed sound carpet it is a wonderful mixture. It finds the way into your ears and directly into your head – it’s all unbelievable catchy.
Even though this is my knowingly first “contact” with the doomy style of Katatonia‘s music, the album is long player to be listened to often. The listening atmosphere that is created with the album is stunning, you get sucked in by it. After listening to some of the band’s earlier works you do see and hear the development and progress the band has made. It takes a step further with this album and progresses clearly bringing in new elements, tweaking the mood and the sound. Stepping forward in their way to perfect their works. You will not get bored listening to the songs even while having them on your own heavy rotation.
The songs on this album offer a variety of the styles and techniques that Katatonia is capable of. The opening song ‘Austerity’ sets the level of the album with a wonderful chorus. Some slower paced songs like ‘Drab Moon’ or ‘Impermanence’ go in contrast with mid or faster tempo songs. But speed is not of the domains of the doom created here and wouldn’t be a good fit. Excellent guitar riffs and solos (e.g., in ‘Opaline’), stunning bass lines and drums, are mixed greatly by Jacob Hansen. The production leads the focus on the capabilities of these wonderfully skilled musicians. They are gifted with mastery of their individual instruments.
This album takes you away in a dark state of mind, but in a good way. My personal highlights are ‘Colossal Shade’ with it’s stomping rhythm, the upper tempo songs ‘Birds’ and ‘Atrium’, the latter which creates an aerial sound feeling even despite all darkness and gloominess and that fits the song title perfectly. Two less fascinating songs close up the album with ‘No beacon To Illuminate Our Fall’ and ‘Absconder’. Despite offering some more heavy rhythm parts, they somehow fall slightly behind and break a little with the style of the other songs in my opinion e.g., compared to ‘Opaline’. To be clear: we are talking about nuances here and the individual taste of the person listening.
I have no doubts that this might be one of the best albums in its genre in 2023. It for sure has set the bar already pretty high so early in 2023.
Jonas Renkse – vocals
Anders Nyström – guitars, backing vocals, keyboards
Niklas Sandin – bass
Daniel Moilanen – drums
Roger Öjersson – guitars
Look out for their upcoming tour dates in Europe to see them perform their new album live on stage.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 10/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 9/10
A dark and mystic album that will suit all fans for melodic or melancholic rock and metal. If you have been a fan before you will not be disappointed but no major surprises to be expected as well. Dark and gloomy all the through as its predecessor was too. The production provides crystal clear sound, and ensures the gloomy atmosphere of the album. Highlight and masterpiece are the vocals and lyrics of this album. I’m predicting that this album should hit the charts in the higher ranks.