Katatonia - _Dead End Kings_
(Peaceville Records, 2012)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (4.5 out of 10)
Every once in a while, an album comes out with a name that perfectly describes it. Six years after their creative peak _The Great Cold Distance_, Katatonia have confirmed their status as the _Dead End Kings_. When _Night Is the New Day_ came out in 2009, I wasn't initially disenchanted by it, but I did sense a lot of repetition taking place. Now album number nine _Dead End Kings_ is here, and it seems like Katatonia is a band stuck trying to recreate a former glory, though with little success. Guitarist Anders Nyström and vocalist Jonas Renkse sound content with sticking with the formula that has been working well for them in the past years, and it sounds like they're planning on draining it dry.

As you absorb _Dead End Kings_, you'll immediately realize what a top-notch production job has been done, but that never makes a weak album any stronger. You'll get a lovely and subtle melody on "The Parting" and some pretty nice drumming on "Leech", but on the other hand, you'll get some very weak melodies on "Leathen" and a super Tool-like opening riff on "Dead Letter". The odd time signature on "First Prayer" will hardly tickle the fancy of prog-minded folk while those who enjoy Katatonia's more vulnerable side will definitely enjoy "The One You Are Looking for Is Not Here" which features guest vocals by Silja Wergeland from The Gathering. The part I enjoyed the most was the hypnotic keyboards on the appropriately titled "Hypnone". But alas, these shining moments are few and far between.

So what went wrong? Well, I couldn't find enough moments of that fragile musical beauty that Katatonia is known for to convince me that _Dead End Kings_ is a step forward. The level of musicianship is pretty much the same except for the keyboards, which were a bit of a surprise for me. _Night Is the New Day_, even with some of its average moments, provided more depth and uniformity than this effort. _Dead End Kings_ is a very safe album, in terms of composition, construction and production. It's an entirely unadventurous forty-eight minute affair that delivers Renkse's staple sedated vocals, Liljekvist's predictable drumming and Blakkheim's slow-morphing riffs; all in abundance, if I may add. I don't know about you, but it looks like my relationship with Katatonia has entered a dark stage.

Contact: http://katatonia.com/

(article published 4/11/2012)

8/12/2001 D Rocher /
P Azevedo /
A Bromley
Katatonia: Songs of Quintessential Sorrow
2/14/2010 P Azevedo 8.5 Katatonia - Night Is the New Day
6/23/2007 P Azevedo 9 Katatonia - Live Consternation
2/17/2006 P Azevedo 9.5 Katatonia - The Great Cold Distance
4/16/2003 P Azevedo 8 Katatonia - Viva Emptiness
3/13/2001 P Azevedo 9 Katatonia - Last Fair Deal Gone Down
8/12/1999 P Azevedo 8 Katatonia - Tonight's Decision
6/7/1998 P Azevedo 9 Katatonia - Discouraged Ones
2/5/1997 P Azevedo 10 Katatonia - Sounds of Decay
4/22/2007 P Azevedo Katatonia / Process of Guilt Conquering the Distance
8/12/2001 P Azevedo Katatonia / Akercocke / Gandalf Brave Redrum Night
3/13/2001 V Anderson My Dying Bride / Katatonia / Soundisciples / Beyond Dawn / Thine The Snow in Their Hearts
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