Katatonia - _The Great Cold Distance_
(Peaceville, 2006)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9.5 out of 10)
For some time now, Katatonia have deserved widespread mainstream recognition. While _The Great Cold Distance_ somehow manages to surpass what the band has achieved before in that respect, it does so without resorting to any cheap commercial tricks. It follows the same path as its predecessors, with a little tweaking of the band's sound and the addition of the odd element or variation. Above all however, it is a hugely inspired and accomplished album: the songwriting is brilliant, and the results unique, emotional and infectious all at the same time. Their sound can be as hard-hitting as it can be fragile, without any of the fake honesty and hollow lamentations so prevalent in mainstream music. With a shining production job to boot, Katatonia may well have created the best album of 2006 before the year had even started.

The first few tracks on _The Great Cold Distance_ give the listener a little bit of almost everything Katatonia is about these days: "Leaders" bears a simmering anger akin to _Viva Emptiness_; "Deliberation"'s main riff screams vintage Katatonia and _Last Fair Deal Gone Down_; and "Soil's Song" shows the development of rhythmic combinations previously uncommon for this band. Later in the album, the glowing "July" and the superb "In the White" (possibly the album's absolute highlight, displaying an unusual approach for the band) ensure the very slightly less remarkable mid-section is given a more than suitable ending. Even at their least brilliant however, Katatonia are still better than anything else I can think of in their league. Guitars soar, caress and crush with effortless brilliance; drums punctuate and pummel with flair and precision; and vocals, setting aside any need for theatrics and artifices, reach the listener in a way that can seldom be experienced elsewhere.

Setting aside Katatonia's rich past before their clean vocal era, _Last Fair Deal Gone Down_ was so far, in my opinion, the band's crowning achievement in this second age of theirs. Where _Viva Emptiness_ failed to impress me much initially -- only to come back to haunt me and greatly grow on me several months later -- there is no doubt that _The Great Cold Distance_ is an outstanding album in every aspect, and indeed at the very least a firm challenger of _Last Fair Deal Gone Down_. Whether Katatonia will ever get the due credit for their immense talent, however, is an entirely different matter in this world we live in.

Contact: http://www.katatonia.com

(article published 17/2/2006)

8/12/2001 D Rocher /
P Azevedo /
A Bromley
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3/13/2001 P Azevedo 9 Katatonia - Last Fair Deal Gone Down
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