Have you ever gotten into a band after hearing them perform a soundcheck while chillin’ in between back-to-back interviews with members of the other bands on the bill? Just us? Ok. Let’s set the stage: The year was 2012 and RNRF was in Worcester to interview Devin Townsend who was still making music as Devin Townsend Project and Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost. Pl was the opening act for a co-headlining run by DTP and Swedish Doom metallers Katatonia who we happened to catch soundchecking while waiting for one of the two interviews. The moment “Forsaker” hit our Spidey sense went through the roof and we made a mental note to delve deeper into Katatonia following the live music festivities to come and the rest, as they say, is history.
But I digress.
Katatonia is back with their 12th long player and it is a thing of beauty. Slowly coming out of a worldwide pandemic, Sky Void of Stars is a refreshingly vibrant Katatonia release that still retains a sound that is inherently both gloomy and gargantuan. “Austerity” is practically pummeling with a steady stream of riffage from Roger Öjersson and Anders Nyström as Daniel Moilanen’s hits hit hard and that uncanny voice of Jonas Renkse soars over all with “Colossal Shade” loudly lumbering in next at a steady pace that’s an incomparable slab of melancholic majesty.
“Opaline” relies on synths to start with Niklas Sandin’s bass work getting a proper chance to shine before shifting into another mighty stomper and “Birds” kinda rawks right out the gates with a propulsive wall of sound put forth from Nyström and Öjersson. “Drab Moon” takes a pregnant pause and slows down ever so slightly with this bass-heavy hum before swerving into its’ powerful mid-section while “Author” is another that celebrates the power of the riff with a blistering chorus as Renkse’s voice vibrates in sync at the eye of a torrent of calculated chaos that surrounds all.
“Impermanence” is like an unearthly dirge that shifts into a glistening anthem, “Sclera” soars similarly, and “Atrium” swells with a wealth of warmth leading towards “No Beacon To Illuminate Our Fall” which is is a crunchy, enthralling leviathan that will cause listeners to sit back and just bask in the sheer heaviness within. And then if you go with the mediabook version of the record, you’ll get to end with a bonus track in the form of “Absconder” which serves as a stirring finale for Katatonia’s 12th that’s as moody as it is massive, creating a symphony of sorrow that’s as potent as anything the band has done throughout their epic 30 year reign.
Sky Void of Stars releases on January 20th via Napalm Records. You can pre-order your copy now in a variety of formats by heading here. For the latest from Katatonia, follow them across their socials by clicking here, here, or here.
[…] who return on January 20th with their 12th Doom-laden masterpiece on Napalm Records (Our review is here) or Raum Kingdom who’ve mastered their own brand of dark heaviness that’s set to be […]