KATATONIA’S NIGHT IS THE NEW DAY: ALMOST 20 YEARS LATER AND THERE’S STILL PLENTY TO BE GLOOMY ABOUT
In a time when being “heavy” in the world of metal all too often relies on generic chug or the most guttural vocals spewed forth, it’s always reassuring when a band can actually sing and still be “heavy.” And it’s even more reassuring when that band is Katatonia – because at this point in the game, you know what you’re going to get: an awesome record that relies more on feeling and flavor than overt technicality or balls-to-the-wall brutality.
Formed in 1991, Katatonia – for the uninitiated that still live under a rock – have changed pretty drastically since their birth, but unlike a whole host of disappointing bands that opted out of one style in favor of singing, Katatonia has been consistently churning out growl-less releases since the late 90s. And most of those go on to garner much acclaim from metal press. If the opening few tracks of Night Is The New Day, the band’s latest effort, don’t convince of this fact, you may want to check your pulse… or your hearing. Katatonia is still on the ball.
Much in the vein of the band’s recent output of gloom-driven goth (as oppossed to their doomy death roots), Katatonia are akin to a heavier version of Porcupine Tree, or Opeth’s lighter side – sans so much technicality, which the band sacrifices in favor of feeling not only in the riffs, but also in the atmospheric swirls of synth mixed and matched with vocalist Jonas Renkse’s trademark disconsolate croon. His vocals fall somewhere between hopelessness, despair and depression.
Night Is The New Day is heaving, incredibly melodic, and ultimately melancholic metal with a meaning. With plenty of progressive flair – wrapped nicely in wank-free five minute tracks – Katatonia continues to show why they’re still, after eighteen years, arguably Finland’s best metal export. Chalk up another win for Katatonia, give them another trophy for their mantle, buy them a present, or do whatever you’re supposed to do when a band puts out an awesome record, because Night Is The New Day is just that.
(four out of five horns)