REVIEW: Katatonia – City Burials by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
Swedish metallers Katatonia have returned from their unexpected hiatus with their highly anticipated eleventh new album ‘City Burials’ which is set for release on 24th April through Peaceville records. They are back with an invigorated and more progressive sound which was certainly worth the wait…
Opener “Heart Set To Divide” starts with a soothing and apeatmospheric intro with all-consuming vocals from Jonas Renkse and ambience to pull you in immediately, then things takes an unexpected turn with bouncy riffs and the song keeps adding layers as it goes on in a brilliant progression throughout. This is an abundant and exciting way to open and to assert their new direction whilst still maintaining their distinct signature sound.
Latest single ‘Behind The Blood’ follows and opens on soaring explosive guitars and melodic instruments in contrast to the opening track. It quickly takes a firm grip in this high velocity and exhilarating track. It has great rhythm from start to finish, ever-alluring suburb vocals and is dark yet with a hopeful upbeat sound intertwined which is irresistible.
First single ‘Lacquer’ is a slower-paced yet equally impactful number, with Jonas highlighting his ethereal vocals yet again and although it is beautiful and sounds positive it has a sombre intimidating underlying tone, something they have mastered wonderfully.
‘Rein’ picks up the pace again and has a towering sound, something the band never struggle with, their massive sound aided through intricate instruments, vocals and ambient effects. ‘The Winter Of Our Passing’ has prominent beats and rhythms and exudes a dark yet endearing presence.
The delicate and moving ‘Vanishers’ sees soft and captivating vocals from Jonas yet again as well as guest vocals from Anni Bernhard, of Stockholm art-rockers Full Of Keys, which works beautifully and keeps things diverse.
‘City Glaciers’ has more of an exotic vibe and is one of the longest and more progressive offerings featured, soaring and crushing easily along the way. ‘Flicker’ is dark, seductive and changeable with slick and exciting guitar work and varied vocals.
‘Lachesis’ is short and sombre and translates as “disposer of lots” which seems in keeping with the theme of loss and ruin and the context of ‘City Of Burials’.
The dynamic ‘Neon Epitaph’ follows and keeps the gloomy sound and features some of the best vocals and well-written memorable lyrics such as “time for absolution, all dead birds sing” and “shadow of my shadow, cling on to my grief” that again help to portray the main themes of the album.
Final song ‘Untrodden’ brings us full circle with characteristic optimistic yet hidden dark undertones that you crave and this closer doesn’t disappoint. Brilliant skilled guitar work adds to the tremendous sound that transpires and ends the album in an epic fashion.
The bands return is a highly triumphant one with ‘City Burials’ being their most dynamic and rich release yet, each song is majestic and spine-tingling throughout from its hauntingly beautiful melodic moments to its hefty dark progressive spirals.