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katatonia mnemosynean
Artist: Katatonia
Title: Mnemosynean
Genre: Dark Rock / Prog Rock
Release Date: 1st October 2021
Label: Peaceville Records

Album Review

Do you feel a cold dread when faced with the words “B-sides and rarities”? Do you believe that those songs discarded on the dusty floors of a studio-past should remain there, the initial rejection no doubt justified? Can you see “blatant rip-off of fans” stamped across the record label invoice, with the sound of a heavy hound in a deep bath treading water and getting nowhere, sploshing inelegantly in the background? Then look away now. Because this release of B-sides and rarities by KATATONIA, to celebrate 30 years together, represents none of those things, and instead shows just how much quality control some bands exercise when whittling down a final album track-listing.

There’s real variation here, and a sense that every track was worked through as thoroughly as possible, as if allowing a song to flourish patiently is the only way to be sure. ‘Vakaren’ wafts about like New-Age pop, ‘Wide awake In Quietus’ gets stuck-in to a melodic, shimmering guitar groove from the off, and there’s a bit of bongo action on ‘The Act Of Darkening’ - not half as hideous as it sounds, although you can’t help picturing hobbits bounding around in the background, which is a good or bad thing, depending on… well, how much hobbit you like in your music.

‘Displaced’ drifts comfortably from straight up rock to pastoral passages not dissimilar to BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST, with a bit of PORCUPINE TREE and PINK FLOYD chucked in to confuse things totally. And ‘Code Against The Code’ is a compact little belter that was definitely overlooked first time around, as it stomps about quite magnificently. On CD 2, ‘Wait Outside’ eases into a massive chorus like slipping on a pair of comfy socks, ‘March 4’ much heavier, darker and more complex, yet still packed with melody and harmony. And ‘Scarlet Heavens’ gives you over ten minutes of its time, stop-starting and then galloping off like a jittery Prog-Rock pony, all nervy and fiddly, barely able to contain itself. Quite something to experience.

Throughout this collection, there’s a feeling of cohesion - which considering the time separating some of these songs, and the nature of the album itself, is quite an achievement. A warm, very human melancholy runs through KATATONIA’s song-writing, and a strangely timeless quality adheres to much of it. This affords ‘Mnemosynean’ an outsider’s appeal that knocks gently on the door of those timeless rock classics that seem now to be forever chiselled in music’s ever evolving history. Not bad for songs discarded on the dusty floors of a studio-past…


01. Vakaren
02. Sistere
03. Wide awake In Quietus
04. Night Comes Down
05. Second
06. The Act Of Darkening
07. Ashen
08. Sold Heart
09. Displaced
10. Dissolving Bonds
11. Unfurl
12. Code Against The Code

01. Wait Outside
02. Sulfur
03. March 4
04. Oh How I Enjoy The Light
05. Help Me Disappear
06. Fractured
07. No Devotion
08. Quiet World
09. Scarlet Heavens
10. In The White (Urban Dub)
11. My Twin (Opium Dub Version)
12. Soil’s Song (Krister Linder 2021 Remix)
13. Day And Then The Shade (Frank Deafult Remix)
14. Idle Blood (Linje 14)
15. Hypnone (Frank Deafult Hypnocadence Mix)


Jonas Renkse
Anders Nyström

Website /

Cover Picture

katatonia mnemosynean


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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