Katatonia - _Night Is the New Day_
(Peaceville, 2009)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
The latest Katatonia full-length, _Night Is the New Day_, is by no means a difficult album to like if you're a Katatonia fan -- especially if you don't mind some Opeth either, which is hardly an unlikely set of circumstances. It is, however, an album I found rather difficult to review.

To get the really obvious out of the way, _Night Is the New Day_ is a damn fine album. It is no less than you would expect from such masters of their craft as Katatonia, honed and perfected to an amazing extent. The blend of melody, ambient touches and suitably hard-hitting heavier sections, all wrapped up in their customary shroud, is every bit as fulfilling as any fan should have a right to demand.

The reasons why I found _NItND_ difficult to review tend to go back to the Opeth reference above. Sure, of all the influences one might discern, "Nephilim" has a definite My Dying Bride vibe (and I certainly don't mean the "lalala" parts), and the start of "Day and Then the Night" might even bring to mind Dark Tranquillity before Jonas Renkse's clean vocals emerge in place of Mikael Stanne's rasp. More significantly however, elsewhere on the album you may end up wondering what those bits of Opeth are doing in your Katatonia -- "Idle Blood" is the most obvious example. Musically, that's not necessarily a bad thing; as I tried to clarify above, in that regard the entire album is above reproach. Some listeners will be somewhat mystified by these elements here and there, but whether or not that will affect their enjoyment of the album will depend on the individual.

Katatonia have moved in other directions as well, with interesting changes to their electronic and ambient details, and also some very tastefully selected sporadic use of piano and cello (or cello-like synths). You won't get a lot of aggression from this album either -- certainly less than on its predecessor -- but this more pensive balance is nonetheless suitable. This is never more evident than on closer "Departer", complete with guest vocals.

Ultimately I can't say that I have enjoyed _Night Is the New Day_ quite as much as its superb predecessor _The Great Cold Distance_, nor that I have found as much to relate to in its contents. While I find it unlikely it will be regarded as one of Katatonia's career defining albums, it is still one of the best records I have heard this year, which should tell you something about this band.

Contact: http://www.peaceville.com

(article published 14/2/2010)

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