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Katatonia - Dead End Kings Review

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Katatonia - Dead End Kings

Katatonia - Dead End Kings

Peaceville Records
Katatonia’s ninth studio album Dead End Kings features a couple of new members. Guitarist Per Eriksson and bassist Niklas Sandin have been in the band for a few years, but this is their first record. The core duo of vocalist Jonas Renske and guitarist Anders Nystrom remain, along with longtime drummer Daniel Liljekvist. That trio also shares production credit on the album with David Castillo (Opeth, Eluveitie).

Instead of a useless interlude or intro, Katatonia get straight to business with “The Parting,” launching into their trademark sound. It’s a varied and dynamic song, going from intense guitars to subdued acoustic sections. The strength of Katatonia is that their music conveys many textures and emotions. Much of it is reflective and somber, but they mix in flashes of aggression and angst as well.

“The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here” is one of the standout tracks on Dead End Kings. It features guest vocalist Silje Wergeland from The Gathering, who fits in perfectly with the vibe of the song. Hooks and melodies are the most important part of a song, but atmosphere can make a good song sound even better. Katatonia’s use of keyboards and piano and even background vocal harmonies are subtle but very effective enhancements.

Katatonia’s sound has mellowed over the years, and that melodic side really takes front and center on Dead End Kings. There are still heavy sections, and “Buildings” is probably the most “metal” song on the album. This album is similar to their last release Night Is The New Day in terms of both style and intensity.

Some albums grab you instantly, others take time before they really take root. Dead End Kings is good upon first listen, but it takes time to fully absorb all the nuances and subtleties the band injects into each and every song. There are a few lulls here and there, but in its entirety I found the album compelling, and grew to appreciate it a little bit more with every listen.

(released August 28, 2012 on Peaceville Records)

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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