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Zeche Carl, Essen, Germany
11th May 2006
Katatonia & Novembre

Katatonia don't really need a big introduction, the band's been around for what seems half an eternity and each release has been a classic album. The Swedes just released their new album ‘The Great Cold Distance’ a couple of weeks ago and embarked on a tour through Europe, featuring label mates Novembre as support act. The tour brought them to the Zeche Carl in Essen, which is basically around the corner (well, it isn't, you have to drive an hour, but you get the idea and so on) which, naturally, was a great opportunity to see them live. The Zeche got quite packed as the evening progressed, but more to that later.


Novembre from Rome formed way back in 1990, but originally called themselves Catacomb back then. In 1994 they garnered a deal and recorded their debut 'Wish I Could Dream It Again...' in Dan Swano's Unisound Studios. Four years later they signed the dotted line for Century Media. Things fell apart with Century Media, so they wound up in the claws of Peaceville in 2004, where they  just recently released their new album ‘Materia’, which is their fifth album. The band consists of the brothers Carmelo and Giuseppe Orlando and Massimiliano Pagliuso. Carmelo plays guitars and sings, Giuseppe enjoys battering the drumkit. Massimiliano Pagliuso strums the guitar as well. / 

The club wasn't too full during Novembre's gig, yet that didn't really bother me as I was standing right up front. The guys seemed to have a lot of fun playing in Essen, at least that's my impression. Novembre presented songs from their new album, as well as a few golden oldies. Carmelo sings clean and grunts/ screams/ whatever and has a very warm and nice voice, which came over quite well – despite the fact I'd stuffed ear plugs down my ears which made everything quite quiet. The sound was good in general, but then I was also standing next to the left part of the PA so I have no idea how it sounded in the middle of the club. It was the first time I witnessed Novembre's music, so I have no idea how their gig compared to the songs on their albums. At least I now know that packing Novembre and Katatonia into the same tour was a good thing, as both bands certainly appeal to the same peer group. If you like bands like Katatonia, Klimt 1918 and Anathema, then Novembre certainly will be your cup of tea.

As I already mentioned, they seemed to have fun on stage. The performance was quite solid, Carmelo delivering his vocals very well whilst playing guitar. It was a basic rock band concert, a few people on the stage having fun and playing their instruments without any posing and a ton more people in front of the stage having more fun because they were able to drink more. Indeed, a bunch of fans had gathered in front of the stage and were visibly enjoying themselves. As for the lights, well, let's just say they were quite, erm, simple. If the lights did change colour, I didn't notice.

01. Verne
02. My Starving
03. Nostalgiaplatz
04. Aquamarine
05. Memoria Stoica
06. Venezia Dismal
07. Materia
08. The Dream
09. Child

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 2
Total: 6 (6.3)


And come the headliners! Yaaaaay! Katatonia! Live! Cool! Katatonia formed way back in the early 90ies and have released a slew of albums since then. They became famous for their unique sound and have inspired a whole generation of underground bands. Katatonia did move on, however, ‘Viva Emptiness’ marking a turning point in their music. ‘The Great Cold Distance’ is a totally new kind of Katatonia, a bit harder (taking them back in time), yet nonetheless still as gloomy, dark, melancholic and moody. /   

The band started out playing ‘Leaders’, which is also the opening track of their new album, which features a caustic and abrasive guitar line. Good song, but then you'd be foolish to expect a bad song from Katatonia. Katatonia played a lot of new material from ‘The Great Cold Distance’, and a few highlights from their older releases, such as the still fabulous ‘Deadhouse’ from Discouraged Ones (which was their first album with clean vocals), or ‘Teargas’ from ‘Last Fair Deal Gone Down’. The sound was great, and the vocals came across very well. Anders/ Blakkheim delivered some of the background shouts and growls, as well as additional vocals now and then. Everything was crisp and clear (at least directly in front of the PA), although considering that the guitars were played via an amp modeller directly into the PA that wasn't too surprising. The bass packed a punch, being the only instrument using a tube amp, which made for a good rhythm section. One of the definitive highlights was the encore – Katatonia played ‘Murder’ from the ‘Brave Murder Day’ album, which certainly is one of the best albums of its kind.

Lots of posing and professional performance in front of a full club. Katatonia were visibly enjoying themselves, and so were the fans. Especially the female fans, which were hugging the stage monitors. Anders/ Blakkheim enjoyed holding up his guitar regularly and played his role quite well. Daniel had fun kicking the bass drum in between songs. All in all, a good show. Everybody was having a good time on the stage and in front of it. The only drawback were the lights, which just aren't good in the Zeche Carl. Jonas looks like that witch girl from The Ring, it seems to be an impossible task to shoot a picture of him with his face visible. The sound was great as well, but I mentioned that already.... all in all, it was a very enjoyable and pleasant evening.

01. Leaders
02. Wealth
03. Soil's Song
04. Deadhouse
05. Teargas
06. Sweet Nurse
07. Deliberation
08. Ghost
09. My Twin
10. Criminals
11. Future Of Speech
12. Tonights Music
13. For My Dreams
14. Sleeper
15. July
16. In The White
17. Evidence

Music: 10
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 2
Total: 8 (7.7)

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