When Katatonia release an album, you have to sit up and pay heed. I have been a fan of this band since their Peaceville days, way back in the very early nineties, and they are a band that have aged and grown alongside me for close on three decades. Continuing to be relevant while maintaining that cutting edge amidst an ocean of fervent artists doesn’t come cheaply, and many bands have fallen like autumn leaves trying to replicate and rediscover the magic that catapulted them into the throes of greatness all those years ago. Well, Katatonia have managed to weather many musical storms and have berthed once more with another juggernaut of a release. Their 12th album, Sky Void of Stars is a dynamic journey through the realms of darkness on board a vessel that feeds off harsh bleak atmospheres and rich emotive harmonics.
One of their pre-released tracks from the aforementioned album is Birds, and it’s a track that exposes a more energetic and upbeat persona that really came to the fore on 2016’s The Fall Of Hearts. Saturated in rich guitar swells and crushing drums, the track immediately pounces with great power and potency, generating a blizzard of boundless atmosphere and fervor. However, once the vocal of Jonas Renkse imposes itself on the track, all the jigsaw pieces come scrambling together, displaying a well-recognized and much revered sound that only Katatonia can forge. Soaked in melody and cleverly timed phrasing and breaks, the track unfolds and evolves into a symphony of classic melodic death metal, with all the nuances of a lush post-rock powerhouse. There’s always a dark cloud overhead when it comes to the music of Katatonia, but with Birds there’s a more optimistic and hopeful skyline ahead. For once there’s less a murder of crows hovering overhead, but more a murmuration of solace and deep benevolence.
Album releases on 20-01-2023