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katatonia sanctitude
Artist: Katatonia
Title: Sanctitude
Genre: Dark / Progressive Metal
Release Date: 30th March 2015
Label: Kscope Records

Album Review

In 2012 KATATONIA released ‘Dead End Kings’, their ninth album was reworked following year in ‘Dethroned & Uncrowned’ to show a more fragile, softer side of the songs and put more focus on the progressive texture of their sound. They are often bracketed with bands such as PARADISE LOST, with whom they also collaborate in other projects (i.e. BLOODBATH), MY DYING BRIDE and ANATHEMA as progenitors of death and doom metal genres. The Swedish band can indeed stand its own ground amongst these great bands but I’d say they’re closest to ANATHEMA. Especially the ‘Dethroned & Uncrowned’ shares its intrinsic feel for vulnerable and tenderly woven beauty amidst the various shadings of melancholy moods.

The soon-to-be-released ‘Sanctitude’ has seventeen songs performed in the candle lit setting of London’s Union Chapel, we get the tack of that album. It spans songs from across their career, taken from The Great Cold Distance, Viva Emptiness, Brave Murder Day, Last Fair Deal Gone Down as well as the two above mentioned albums. The release is also comprised of a DVD of the concert and a documentary film ‘Beyond The Chapel’ – those, regrettably, aren’t subject of this review.  You can also find here the collaboration with The PINEAPPLE THIEF frontman and songwriter Bruce Soord, who joined KATATONIA on vocals and guitar on their 2014 tour ‘Unplugged & Reworked ‘and also mixed and mastered the audio recording and a special guest appearance of Silje Wergeland of THE GATHERING on the final song ‘The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here’. And indeed another aspect is that some of the chosen songs haven’t been played live before.

The song choices are great, and the way they’ve transformed them easily makes the coherent whole with smooth, dreamy even very relaxing feel. It really makes you wish you were there; the setting seems a perfect choice as I would say from the one sample video including in the promo. It’s arguable that a more acoustic undertaking renders songs more flat and strips them of the more urgent immediacy, gives them a generic, poppy tinge;  to a certain degree that’s true here but if the mood is right it will be forgiven and for fans of the band certainly negligible. Besides, they’re a skilled and really good band. The highlights are ‘Leviathan’ and ‘Day’ that retain the more emotive edge and the focus is more on the emotion than the lyrics. The duet of Renkse and Wergeland in ‘The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here’ is beautiful and has poignancy about it.

The sound quality is great and Renkse’s introductions and commentary are great inclusions as they lend interest to the songs. Again judging from the video what comes special is seeing the band working closely together and giving an impression of togetherness and seeing the connection with the audience. As always with these releases they are best as DVDs, whatever audio retains from them is pale in comparison to watching it, let alone being there.


01. In The White
02. Ambitions
03. Teargas
04. Gone
05. A Darkness Coming
06. One Year From Now
07. The Racing Heart
08. Tonight`s Music
09. Sleeper
10. Undo You
11. Lethean
12. Day
13. Idle Blood
14. Unfurl
15. Omerta
16. Evidence
17. The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here

Concert Film (80 mins)
Documentary `Beyond The Chapel` (66 mins)


Jonas Renkse – lead vocals
Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström – guitars, backing vocals
Daniel Liljekvist – drums, percussion
Per "Sodomizer" Eriksson – lead and rhythm guitars
Niklas "Nille" Sandin – bass

Website /

Cover Picture

katatonia sanctitude


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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