Katatonia is back, folks, and back with new material. After parting ways with lead guitarist Per Eriksson and longtime drummer Daniel Liljekvist, one reasonable question arose – how will these departures affect new material of Katatonia?
Since releasing ‘Dead End Kings’ back in 2012, band was busy with few live recordings and DVDs, but nothing like new material was really coming out. That is until announcement, made on 7th of March, 2016. It was announced, that ‘The Fall of Hearts’, brand new album, will be released on 20th of May via Peaceville Records.
In 2015, band has recruited Roger Öjersson (lead guitars on few new tracks) and Daniel Moilanen (new drummer) to take vacant spots, and went full on into recording process. The result arrived and it sure as hell can be called both fresh and customary at once. It’s quite paradoxical, but listening to album created two-folded emotions. First of all, it’s the Katatonia we are used to, as of recently. Tracks like opener ‘Takeover’ or following ‘Serein’ are purest example of what the band sounds like lately. They are beautifully crafted songs, with clean vocals and ricky-ticky melodics, ambient abstract sound. Previously released track, ‘Old Heart Falls’, is another example, yet a little bit more poetical and calm. It is a very catchy track, that will grow on you and captivate you with it’s beauty.
The rhythm of album is very uneven and that is quite a signature of the band. While this may cause some issues with track placement, this is quite a unique feature of Katatonia. Diversity of this album is displayed with tracks like ‘Sanction’, ‘Serac’ or ‘Passer’, full of dark and heavy riffs, as if exploring some hidden desires band has for its sound. Those tracks are a definite icing on the cake, showing off talents of each and every member of Katatonia. Still, as if balancing the innovation, tracks like ‘Decima’ and ‘Residual’ it’s obvious, that the band is definitely not abandoning its roots. While those tracks come quite far from initial goth sound of it, they are archetypical. The moment you hear them – you know this is how band used to sound. This all creates an aftertaste, a very strong one, that says: “Hey, we are open to exploration, but we also know what made us into us”.
As a result, we have an album, that is freshly-sounding, sometimes aggressive, but still quite lyrical and relaxing. The album, that can be thoroughly appreciated by fans of different genres. A beauty. Welcome back, Katatonia.
(9/10, Peaceville Records)