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Title: Night is the new Day
Artist: Katatonia
Genre: Metal
Release Date: 2nd November 2009
Label: Peaceville Records

Album Review

This album had a lot to live up to with Mikael Akerfeldt (OPETH) calling it "Possibly the greatest 'heavy' record I have heard in the last 10 years... it truly is a masterpiece!" Really? Really!

The first thing you notice about this 8th studio album of KATATONIA's is that it's as hard as hell and fabulously melodic. It's as if a load of angels have raided a really good music shop and decided they might like to have a go at being the best metal band in the world. It has deep resonances, dark impressions and tremendous purity musically that you would imagine is hard to pull together into a cognoscente theme, but they've managed it, with it being a real showcase for their individual abilities as musicians as well as for the band as a whole. The first track 'Forsaker' starts with a warning siren and soon falls headlong into a gorgeous compellingly visceral riff that's all at once overtaken by subtle and melodic vocals. It's a blisteringly good track to kick off with.

'The longest year' is nothing short of beautiful. It's haunting, haunted, lyrics and the use of strings really adding atmosphere against inspired drumming and guitars. It sets a flavour for what we can expect from the rest of the album in terms of sheer quality. 'Idle blood' with its layered vocal harmonies and intricately restrained sound is for me one of the most impressive tracks on the album. Jonas Renske is a real artist vocally, knowing exactly how much to give and when, his vocals on this album are utterly mind-blowing and the best I've ever heard him. 'Onward into battle', the 4th track of the album, is so retrained and precise in it's execution that I was really hard pressed to fault it. The thing you notice as this album progresses is that it's tremendously personal without ever falling victim to being self indulgent, and with this track particularly you really do feel that they have the balance perfect.

'Liberation' is my favourite track of the whole album. I just love the way melody and contra- melody get under your skin, with HUGE dark riffs overlaying Jonas Renske's excellent vocals. The use of synths really becomes noticeable on 'Promise of deceit' and they work beautifully. There is nothing of the cheesy overtones of lesser bands who venture headlong into synth land in an effort to progress musically. Here they merely lend depth and warmth to bring out all of the subtle flavours and layers that this band has cleverly woven into this album. A wall of sound hits you with 'Nephilim', and for those who like things heavy and dogmatic it travels with us along a road somewhere between deep depression and blinding hope. Just as I always like to identify my favourite tracks on an album, I also like to identify my least favourite and this, 'New light' is it. There's nothing really to fault here, but since the rest of the album is so very, very strong, so progressive and so downright awe inspiring, this track just failed to mark me as smitten by it.

On the other hand, track 9, 'Inheritance', grabbed me straight away, with a gentle, very forward vocal, that takes you pavane-like through lyrics so dark you could happily drown in them, dragged under by the weeping melody. 'Day and then the shade' is one of the heaviest offerings of the album. It's got impeccable drumming, razor sharp guitars and the usual Elysian standard of vocals and can't really be faulted. A great penultimate track! And so to 'Departer', which starts threatening and dirge like, so much so it sets the hackles on your neck before it wanders mournfully onwards. Save the best 'til last is a very old saying, and it seems that KATATONIA have taken notice of that adage, because this is one of the most mature, progressive and inventive tracks on the whole album and along with 'Liberation' really stands apart from the rest.

I've listened to this album a lot and found that I almost had a writers block in conveying to you exactly how good it is. Something of it crawls under your skin and draws out your own emotions, but on a purely mundane level, it's one hell of a brilliantly executed album, knowing how to slowly chisel its message into you rather than hitting you down like a ton of bricks. The sound is sublime, the musician-ship impeccable, songwriting second to none and the overall impression is of a band that have finally drawn upon all of their extensive experience to arrive finally where they should really be. When I interviewed the band Anders said that he wanted to make an album they could be really proud of. Well they have.


01. Forsaker (4:05)
02. The Longest Year (4:39)
03. Idle Blood (4:23)
04. Onward Into Battle (3:52)
05. Liberation (4:18)
06. The Promise of Deceit (4:18)
07. Nephilim (4:27)
08. New Night (4:28)
09. Inheritance (4:30)
10. Day & Then the Shade (4:26)
11. Departer (5:27)


Jonas Renske - Vocals
Anders Nystrom - Guitar
Frederik Norrman - Guitar
Mattias Norrman - Bass
Daniel Liljekvist - Drums

Website /

Cover Picture


Music: 10
Sound: 9
Extras: -
Total: 9.5 / 10


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