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Bandname: Katatonia
Title: The Great Cold Distance
Genre: Melancholic Rock
Release date: March 2006
Record Company: Peaceville / Snapper


After almost 3 years of waiting, Katatonia from Sweden have returned with their 7th CD. Ever since their reinvention back in 1998 (resulting in the album "Discouraged Ones"), the band has been building and expanding their own unique sound. So is this the climax? Can the band continue upwards after this? Katatonia has mastered their dark and melancholic form of rock/metal very well. Fusing their old influences (old Paradise Lost?) with their new found sonic treasures. I heard a lot of so called gothic bands in the years I've been filling my CD cabinets, but I must admit, this band has made it their own (without sounding too gothic). This must appeal to all you dark music lovers out their. And only 3 months into the new year, I already know...

Line Up

Jonas P. Renske - Vocals
Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström - Guitars
Fredrik "North" Norrman - Guitars
Mattias "Kryptan" Norrman - Bass
Daniel Liljekvist - Drums


Song Review

01. Leaders - 4:20
The first few seconds you think nothing has changed. A flanged guitar riff starts the CD off, but then a ton of heavily distorted guitars kick this song up to a heavy groove. Hypnotic and off-beat patterns, filled by Jonas' dark monotonous vocals, some whispering and Anders screaming his lungs out, make the kick-off very dark indeed. The typical dynamics are perfected with soundscapes and programmed drum loops. Straight away I noticed that the production is very tight, and the vocals are sounding better than ever. Definitely a song put at the start on purpose. It's only task to blow the listener away.

02. Deliberation - 3:59
The second song is a nice follow-up to the storm that is "Leaders". Almost a typical Katatonia song; displaying the harmony vocal lines and a catchy chorus. Deliberation grasps at you, dragging you in. And where the verses are timid and fragile, the chorus breaks open and is almost the sonic equivalent of the sun breaking through the dark clouds. All the details are well-balanced. I do advise listening to this album through headphones.

03. Soil's Song - 4:12
And here's the first song that's on my favorites list. A splendid off-beat, that is accentuated when the distorted guitars kick in. The dark and heavy groove must be a live favorite for the future. It does show a slightly different side of Katatonia though, but instead of alienating their own sound, it only expands it. Fading out at the end into an atmospheric piece of keyboards.

04. My Twin - 3:41
And then the single/video. A good choice. My Twin is open and approachable for many music fans. Catchy vocal lines, entrancing verses, loud chorusses. A track showing off all that is the Katatonia sound. If you have a chance, check out the accompanying video (which can be found at the band's website). Another one for my list of faves.

05. Consternation - 3:50
Consternation must be one of the louder tracks on the album. Heavy riffing, up-tempo, distorted vocals, there's an overall evil feel to this track. Incredible drumwork as well, which gives the whole song a powerful drive. The contrast of the heavy riffs with the clear transparent vocals is very clear. The bridge is very subtle and breaks the song up nicely, only to burst into the drive of before.

06. Follower - 4:45
Dark clean guitars with an off-beat start off the next track. Despite that there are heavy parts in it, the song is mostly a bit softer and slower. A nice contrast with Consternation. The chorus is a small feast for the headbangers among all of you. This track even has some double-bassdrum parts. Incredible lyrics.

07. Rusted - 4:21
Time for another incredible track. The groove of this track is ever-changing. A more-than-excellent example of the innovative songwriting this band is known for. The clean guitarparts are woven neatly through the original drum patterns. All held together by the dreamy vocal-lines.

08. Increase - 4:20
Straight in with heavily distorted guitars. Rhythm wise this is different from the mass bands that are trying so hard to be dark as well. Some nicely programmed keyboards and loops make this track go from very atmospheric and angelic to dark, heavy and aggressive. Whispered backing vocals, only to be heard on headphones.

09. July - 4:45
Another example of what defines the Katatonia sound. A guitar riff (not completely clean) with Jonas' multi-layered vocals. The melodies and rhythms really caught me and this must be the 3rd track in my list of faves. The changing of rhythms, the screaming in the background. It's catchy, it sticks out, it's original. Some really nice staccato rhythms near the end. Another example of expanding the Katatonia sound.

10. In the White - 4:53
After July, it must be hard to top it again. In the White is a soft, melancholic track, which reminded me of Last fair deal gone Down every now and then. Mixed with a bit of Viva Emptiness. In some way this song must be one of the most depressing of the album. Makes you wonder what the hell is going on in Jonas' head...

11. The Itch - 4:20
A fade in guitar riff and a ton of guitars answering the introduction with a more than heavy beat. As sudden as the heaviness kicked in, it disappears again. A procession that's repeated throughout the song, throwing the listener back and forth between the seperate moods. More whispering in between verses and some well-played atmospherics half-way through the song. Ending by fade-out.

12. Journey Through Pressure - 4:20
The last song of the album. A different approach. Very melancholic and with the slow beat and open riffing this really speaks to me somehow. Katatonia has found the perfect way to express the sorrow. Backward delays make the vocal lines ghostly. The last track for my fave-list. A new record. Journey has a more epic feel to it than the other tracks. A perfect ending, the finale to a near to pefect album...

Technical Information

Total playing time: 51:51
Total tracks: 12

Cover and Promotional Pictures



Yes, I already know. This is definitely going to be one of the contenders for the number 1 in my CD of the year list (coming to you in December). Katatonia has achieved to improve their style, make it even more powerful and keep it very interesting musically as well. After walking off the beaten path and releasing Viva Emptiness, their new CD must have been a test if they could perfect their newfound power and edge. Well, The Great Cold Distance has achieved that on all fronts. Song structure has come near to perfection, the atmosphere is dark, depressed and melancholic (not at the last place by Renske's lyrics), the production is crisp, clear yet heavy as fuck, and the dynamics are all over the place.  A must-buy situation!


Music: 9
Sound: 9
Extra's: n/a
Total: 9

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