4th March 2010
Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, Long Distance Calling
It's always that when you need the German Railways that they have a habit of failing you. Like this time when I entered the platform and saw my train would have a good 20 minutes delay. Exceptionally and to my delight they made up a few minutes while we're headed to Cologne where KATATONIA would stop for a "little" guest play at the Luxor club, so I still made it in time before the doors opened.
Long Distance Calling
5 German guys found together in 2006 to form LONG DISTANCE CALLING aiming to add something new to the market. When in 2007 their debut long player 'Satellite Bay' hit the shops, the press echo to the record is widely favourable. Encouraged by the debut's success, the band quickly found the inspiration to go about recording the next album which came out in 2009 and is called 'Avoid the Light'. LONG DISTANCE CALLING is Dave (guitar), Flo (guitar), Jan (bass), Janosch (drums) and Reimut (ambience). http://www.myspace.com/longdistancecalling
Music & Performance
So after a while of sound check and guitar fine tuning with stoic composure, the first of 3 bands of the evening entered the stage with LONG DISTANCE CALLING. They directly knew how to impress and surprise with an instrumental mix of ambient, flickering guitars and shifting drum figures, but without the help of any vocals, just with the various possibilities their instruments offered them. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a too mind-focused performance that initially grabbed everyone in the room, calling them to move more or less hefty to what was coming out the speakers. The music met with pure excitement and enthusiasm of the audience and was a complete success for everyone. A band to look out for!
Total: 6.7 / 10
Swallow the Sun
SWALLOW THE SUN was founded in autumn 2000 and gradually grew to a real band with member by member joining the line-up. In autumn 2002 they started writing songs for a demo that was eventually recorded in 2003 and landed them a deal with Firebox Records who released their first album 'The Morning Never Came' in 2003. The second album 'Ghosts of Loss' followed it up already in 2005 and made it to #8 of the Finnish charts. After relocating to a new label, they hit the road for a European tour. The latest album, titled 'New Moon' came out in 2009. SWALLOW THE SUN is Mikko Kotamäki (vocals), Juha Raivio (guitar), Markus Jämsen (guitar), Matti Honkonen (bass) and Aleksi Munter (keys). http://www.swallowthesun.net/ / http://www.myspace.com/swallowthesundoom
Music & Performance
The next band coming from Finland was the second unknown factor for us yesterday, as we didn’t quite know what to expect from SWALLOW THE SUN. The answer is sinister Doom / Black Metal, revealing a good sense for melody. The show started with the roaring of the sea, surrounding a gradually increasing symphony of darkness to drag you under the surface of the water. Then the band appeared to start the performance with ‘These Woods Breathe Evil’ from the current album ‘New Moon’ that was dominated by the growls of singer Mikko Kotamäki atop the slowly rolling rhythms and mighty keyboard walls. But already with the next song ‘Falling Worlds’ he proved he has a very good clean voice as well, hovering softly over the bleak landscapes the track creates with its even slower tempo, which with the track ‘Ghosts of Loss’ formed a balladry timbre that was occasionally broken by grunts and even shrieking.
It was an on one hand appealing, but on the other hand disquieting music, showcased by the band, drenched in dark lights. The effect of the music and performance on the audience was quite mixed from what I could see. There were ones that remained in idleness all the time, while others broke into rapture during and before certain songs. I for one will check out a few more on CD. They made me curious.
Total: 7.1 / 10
KATATONIA came into existence back at the beginning of the 1990, particularly in 1991. Back then, they still played a mixture of Black and Doom Metal which they abandoned for the second album 'Brave Murder Day', released in 1996. For the album, as well as for the following EP, the band had a prominent guest vocalist on board with Mikael Akerfeldt of OPETH doing the growl parts, while singer Jonas Renkse did the clean stuff. The clean "stuff" would eventually become the main means of vocal expression for KATATONIA on every of the albums to come. The band's biggest success was to become the album 'The Great Cold Distance' which by many fans is also described as the band's best. Chances of the following album becoming a failure with bars placed so high and raised expectations with bands and critics were high. 'Night is the New Day' from 2009, however, was by no means a failure. KATATONIA is Jonas Renkse (vocals), Anders Nyström (guitar), Per Eriksson (guitar), Niklas Sandin (bass) and Daniel Liljekvist (drums). http://www.katatonia.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/katatonia
Music & Performance
Finally the long warm-up phase was drawing close to its end, and after a little more sound check KATATONIA entered the stage to saturnine sound environment. We can call that intro as well. With no time wasted, the show started with the opener of the new album ‘Night is the New Day’, called ‘Forsaker’. Following it up was one of my instant favourites of the record with ‘Liberation’ doing again the daring balancing act between Prog, Metal, and beautiful electronics, all carried by the in a way silky voice of Jonas Renkse, whose face you couldn't see most of the time, hidden behind his hairs. When he announced the next song would be from 'The Great Cold Distance' album, it was like a trigger for the audience to break into sheer enthusiasm, and 'My Twin' is an absolutely great song. Not only songs from these two albums would be played by the band during the show, but also some that haven't been played in a long time or in some cases have never been played live before. To the first category belonged the song 'Complicity' from the 'Viva Emptiness' album, having an audibly harder timbre and mood to it.
The latter category was filled with songs like the, forgive me if that's an insult to you, slightly country-esque 'Omerta' that nevertheless sprayed a melancholy so intense you could feel it everywhere. Another one that according to Jonas has never been played live before was 'Saw You Drown' and which was completely unknown to me at the time, blew me away and many others as well. The encore, bound to follow after such a show with 'Dispossession' and 'Leaders' brought out the last of the band, always moving back and forth, while Jonas focused solely on singing, which for my tastes sounded even better than on CD. Then it was time to leave for everyone, some would have to work that day, because it was already past midnight and get very little sleep. But that you can bear if having watched such a show suffering a bit from the moderate light.
03. My Twin
04. Onward Into Battle
06. The Longest Year
09. Saw You Drown
10. Idle Blood
11. Ghost of the Sun
14. Day and Then the Shade
15. In the White
16. For My Demons
Total: 8 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com/ / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography)