Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor
📸 – Mathias Blom
Swedish melancholy metal masters Katatonia are set to release their newest full-length album “Sky Void Of Stars”! While you can always expect an absolutely breathtaking album from from these legends of gloom, I wasn’t expecting the depth and the beauty that came with this new release! Katatonia have always poured their heart into their music, but this new release seems to be their most poignant, emotive and most soul-felt release to date.
Having started with a more goth-ridden, doom metal sound in their earlier days, this band has seen an absolutely incredible evolution over the years that they have never shied away from, but in fact have fully embraced, and “Sky Void of Stars” is absolutely no exception, and is probably their strongest release to date. With vocals and melodies that claw at the deepest recesses of your mind, heart and soul, this album digs itself deeper than ever from the first note.
Opening with tracks like “Austerity” and “Colossal Shade” really provides this album with a strong opening. These are some of the more prog-like songs on this album. With lots of time signature changes, layering and great riffs throughout, musically these tracks really stand out to me and are incredible as an album opener. Jonas’s vocals have a bit of a different tone throughout these tracks, but in a good way, as his vocals sound incredible here. Both of these tracks, even though are more of a complicated structure, easily get stuck in your mind. Instrumentally, these songs aren’t easy to play, but the band makes it sound absolutely effortless.
“Opaline” opens with more of a light synth-driven atmosphere, leading into a more post-rock driven track, with a diminished sound within the chord structures at times. This track has got some great instrumentation, with Moilanen’s drums absolutely killing it right in the pocket.
“Birds” starts abruptly with a crescendo directly into roaring guitars and drums. With great melodies and hooks that will have you craving more, this is guaranteed to be a crowd favorite. “Drab Moon” sees a more straight up doom approach, with eerie pads happening throughout the track, dirge like guitar riffs and a longing in Jonas’s voice. While gloomy, this track is hauntingly beautiful in its own way.
While the first half of this record is absolutely breathtaking, the back half is even stronger for me. Tracks like “Author”and “Impermanence”, while nostalgic, have a more modern appeal to it, filled with incredible vocal dynamics, incredible instrumentation and an overall chillingly gloomy atmosphere. “Impermanence” sees guest vocals from none other than Soen’s Joel Ekelöf, who beautifully lends himself to this song. Ekelöf and Renkse’s vocals blend really well together. This track reminds me of Soen’s “Lotus”.
“Sclera” sees more of the melancholy dread that Katatonia has been known for with a more nostalgic sound, while“Atrium” sees a bit more of an uplifting melody throughout, with some incredible poetic imagery. This track is yet just another example of the absolutely breathtaking and soul-reaching song writing of Renske and delivered in a way that only Katatonia could perfect.
“No Beacon To Illuminate Our Fall” sees some absolutely incredible guitars with a more prog vibe with some more laid back vocal sections that rip into your soul, while the bonus track “Absconder” sees a more metal/symphonic metal opening with beefy guitar riffs and strings in the background leading into a riff-laden track.
Katatonia has once again shown why they are a force to be reckoned with. They are so much more than band, and their music is so much more than just notes and words. It’s heart, raw emotion, and true art in its purest form. This album from start to finish opens a dialogue within the deepest parts of your being.
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