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Requiem

Katatonia - the gothic alternative

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Katatonia. Obviously they are a band that really stands on their own style-wise, whether in their blackened doom days or their more alternative/progressive dark rock moments and no one would really pretend they are strictly gothic metal. Whatever you call them, though, they deserve their own thread and the gothic metal catch-all is probably as good as any for these Swedish misery merchants. They're dark, they're atmospheric, they're sorrowful. 

Anyway, Katatonia are for me one of the greatest things to happen to music and it gives me great pleasure to begin a conversation about them by ranking their albums from least favourite to most favourite. 

10. The Great Cold Distance (2006)

Some people rank this album as the band's greatest, and I think if the miracle song 'Unfurl' was actually on it instead of used as a b-side, it would be a lot higher in my list. As the actual tracklisting stands, this album took me years to warm to despite generally liking it. Yes, 'My Twin' is an anthem, and yet again the final track is brilliant (they're good at final tracks these lads), but come on, people talk about 'July' as if it's something great, but it's just not. It's only ok. The fuzzy chug of those tracks... and filler songs everywhere. Never cared much for this red album cover and booklet. 

9. Dead End Kings (2012)

There was just something about this album that let me down but overall I really like it. Yes, I love 'The Racing Heart', and the final track 'The Act of Darkening' is excellent, but the band just feel off the boil. Much too much filler, phat guitar riffs that have no feeling, and a meandering meaninglessness. Also a bit of arrogance in the album title... Album cover's ok. 

8. Dance of December Souls (1994)

Despite probably the worst drum performance in the history of label released albums, this has spirit all the way through it. Youthful vitality, authentic darkness, call it what you will. You can play this late at night with some candles and it's hard to beat. In the day, driving around in your car, it's a little awkward. Old school album cover featuring band members' faces. Pretty lol. Definitely cool. 

7. Night is the New Day (2009)

The first time I heard this I thought I'd accidentally bought the new Tool album. All chunky guitars. I've since calmed down a bit and songs like 'The Longest Year' are pretty happening, and in fact this has really clicked for me and I've come to love it. The final track, again, 'Departer' is one of their best songs - what a classic. Foolish album title. Average album cover. 

6. Viva Emptiness (2003)

This is a great album. The re-release is so overblown with keyboards it's ridiculous, but the original is fantastic. Tracks like 'Evidence', 'Criminals' and 'Omerta' are so goddamn good. There's also a bit of filler here if I'm being honest, and there are definitely skippable tracks here. The guitars sound a bit too razor-wire as well for some reason and I get ear-fatigue or whatever it's called if I listen to it for too long. Overall though, excellent stuff. Pretty cool album cover. 

5. Discouraged Ones (1998)

Bleak, emotional, courageous, this album is a classic. Ok so many bands were going, or about to go, more rock in 1998, but not to this extent of downbeat emptiness. 'Saw you Drown', 'Gone' and 'Deadhouse'. These are the sounds of true hopelessness. This is the band's first album with Jonas purely singing clean. Haunting album cover of a departing angel. 

4. Tonight's Decision (1999)

Similar to the album above, but this release has added energy and much better drums, with Jonas finally getting off the drum stool to focus purely on vocals. Jonas' voice is developing nicely too, and the guitar tone here is to/die/for. Contains the immortal 'For My Demons'. This album also features their best artwork/booklet by Travis Smith back when he was using gothic photos rather than just drawing black scribbles with his computer pen. 

3. Brave Murder Day (1996)

The Klassic Katatonia Kut, bumped down to number three, but still an all time metal masterpiece. The droning repetition of the riffs, Mikael Akerfeldt's roar, Jonas' absolutely stunning lyrics. Emotional hurricanes in 'Brave', '12', and 'Endtime' that also features that cool sample from 'The Shining'. This album had a huge influence on bands, but nothing has come close to this style really. World class album cover. 

2. The Fall of Hearts (2016)

This album is genius, and it took quite a bit of time to grow on me. It features my all time favourite Katatonia song in 'Old Hearts Fall', and overall the atmosphere, musicianship, lyrics and probably the best production of any album I own combine to stylish perfection. Songs like 'Serein', 'Passer' and the European-city-at-night genius of 'Vakaren' (if you have a bonus version) are just next level. My only complaint is it's slightly too long and they could have ditched one of the more progressive Opethy style tracks like the overinflated 'Serac', but the quality here just triumphs. Amazing album cover. 

1. Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)

For years this was my stand alone favourite album of all time, and to this day I think it's still in the top two or three. There is nothing out there like this album, and the production is so unique that there will be nothing like it ever again. 'Teargas', 'Tonight's Music', 'Sweet Nurse'. There's bleakness but also melody; emptiness but also singalong choruses. Great drumming, great lyrics, amazing guitar tone. The cover is probably the worst thing about it, but the music wins. 

 

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I've only truly listened to the three CDs that I own: Dance of December Souls, Brave Murder Day and the EP For Funerals to Come. 

I know I attempted to listen to their later stuff but I'm guessing I didn't care much for it because I don't remember anything. Same thing with Anathema.  

 

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7 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

I've only truly listened to the three CDs that I own: Dance of December Souls, Brave Murder Day and the EP For Funerals to Come. 

I know I attempted to listen to their later stuff but I'm guessing I didn't care much for it because I don't remember anything. Same thing with Anathema.  

 

Interesting that you like Moonspell and Paradise Lost but not so much Katatonia. I think Katatonia are the best of the three. Give them another try some time. Come and hang out at Castle Requiem and we will have a Kataparty.

As for Anathema, 1993-1999 they were perfect, but very hit and miss after that in my opinion. I can't stand them at all these days. 

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11 minutes ago, Requiem said:

Interesting that you like Moonspell and Paradise Lost but not so much Katatonia. I think Katatonia are the best of the three. Give them another try some time. Come and hang out at Castle Requiem and we will have a Kataparty.

As for Anathema, 1993-1999 they were perfect, but very hit and miss after that in my opinion. I can't stand them at all these days. 

I meant I like the early stuff but vaguely recall not liking their recent stuff. But someday I'll give their later stuff another try. But I have to admit I'm always apprehensive when I hear the word 'alternative' in regards to a metal band. 

But your'e right, I don't like them as much as Paradise Lost or Moonspell. Even Paradise Lost has some stuff I wasn't too keen on. 

I think I'll listen to my Katatonia CDs in the next few days and tell you what I think of them in greater detail. It's been years I think since I last heard them. 

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10 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

I meant I like the early stuff but vaguely recall not liking their recent stuff. But someday I'll give their later stuff another try. But I have to admit I'm always apprehensive when I hear the word 'alternative' in regards to a metal band. 

But your'e right, I don't like them as much as Paradise Lost or Moonspell. Even Paradise Lost has some stuff I wasn't too keen on. 

 

Yeah I got it.  

Check out the lyric video for 'Old Hearts Fall' as well as 'Unfurl'. Could have a Fields/Sisters vibe that you might enjoy.

"For every dream that is left behind me, I take a bow,

For every war that will rage inside me, I hear the sound

of another day in this vanishing life, returned to dust,

And every chance I've pushed away into the night..."

So chilling. So apt for 37 year old Requiem...

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On 15/09/2017 at 5:10 AM, deathstorm said:

I had listein to quite katatonia  as as well they are pretty good 

Good stuff, Deathy. There is an era of Katatonia for everyone. I enjoy all eras so I’m always happy.

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One of the things that strikes me about Katatonia - and I've alluded to this earlier in this thread - is that they are one of those bands that regularly misfires with their selection of b-sides. They have a habit of choosing fantastic songs to leave off their albums! Here are three examples: 

'Help Me Disappear' from the 'Last Fair Deal Gone Down' album sessions. This appears on the 'Tonight's Music' EP as a b-side but it's actually one of the best tracks that they recorded during the album sessions. It's a wonderful catchy song that fits into 'Last Fair Deal Gone Down' perfectly and really should have been on the album. 

'Wait Outside' from the 'Viva Emptiness' sessions. This appeared on the 'Black Sessions' best of boxset and has since been included on the ten year anniversary edition of 'Viva Emptiness' which is an inferior release due to the absurd amount of keyboards they've added to an already great album. 

'Unfurl' from the 'The Great Cold Distance' sessions. It appears on the 'July' single. Leaving this chilled out track off the album proper is a calamity that I've personally never recovered from. They later re-released it as the lead track on the 'Kocytean' EP. To this day I think it's my second favourite Katatonia song. 

Each of these three songs deserves to be on their respective albums and I would argue could even be singles. Terrible run of a band who put filler ahead of genius. 

 

 

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Top 5 Katatonia Songs (to be edited with statements when I’m off my phone)

5. For my Demons (Tonight’s Decision)

4. Serein (The Fall of Hearts)

3. Brave (Brave Murder Day)

2. Unfurl (July single)

1. Old Hearts Fall (The Fall of Hearts)

 

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Katatonia is in my opinion one of the greatest bands to excel at multiple genres. Most bands I listen to, I only really like 2 or 3 albums before a drastic change in sound I can't really stomach, but I enjoy everything these guys did from the Jhva Elohim Meth demo to The Great Cold Distance (although they lost me after that). Dance of December Souls is still probably in my top three albums of all time, by any band, ever. Sure, the songwriting is more or less amateurish sometimes and the musicianship isn't the greatest, but the atmosphere and pure emotion this album elicits is unparalleled. Renkse's vocals on December are also some of my most favorite ever recorded, it's like listening to someone being tortured in slow motion or something for 50-odd minutes, yet they are so soothing and cathartic to me. I love how that entire album is drenched in reverb, people say it's a little cheesy and dated or whatever but I love it. Nothing else sounds quite like it. Beautiful lyrics too. Brave Murder Day is also, of course, fucking brilliant. My second favorite from this band. 

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On 10/30/2018 at 6:58 PM, Depraved said:

Katatonia is in my opinion one of the greatest bands to excel at multiple genres. Most bands I listen to, I only really like 2 or 3 albums before a drastic change in sound I can't really stomach, but I enjoy everything these guys did from the Jhva Elohim Meth demo to The Great Cold Distance (although they lost me after that). Dance of December Souls is still probably in my top three albums of all time, by any band, ever. Sure, the songwriting is more or less amateurish sometimes and the musicianship isn't the greatest, but the atmosphere and pure emotion this album elicits is unparalleled. Renkse's vocals on December are also some of my most favorite ever recorded, it's like listening to someone being tortured in slow motion or something for 50-odd minutes, yet they are so soothing and cathartic to me. I love how that entire album is drenched in reverb, people say it's a little cheesy and dated or whatever but I love it. Nothing else sounds quite like it. Beautiful lyrics too. Brave Murder Day is also, of course, fucking brilliant. My second favorite from this band. 

Cool post! 

If you can stomach Katatonia up to and including 'The Great Cold Distance' then you might really love the tracks 'Old Heart Falls' and 'Serein' from their latest album 'The Fall of Hearts'. Just amazing emotional music. I dare you to listen to them and not be moved. 

As for Jonas sounding like he's being tortured in slow motion during 'Dance of December Souls', I think you're probably right, because he couldn't use his voice for growls after that! It can't have been fun. 

If you've been feeling a little let down by recent Katatonia I suggest checking out 'The Fall of Hearts'. It's a really varied album but there are some absolute gold gold gold standard tracks on it. 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Requiem said:

If you've been feeling a little let down by recent Katatonia I suggest checking out 'The Fall of Hearts'. It's a really varied album but there are some absolute gold gold gold standard tracks on it. 

 

 

To my ears, they did everything on that album better with their previous efforts, but I guess since you don't like those albums that much, it makes a weird kind of sense that you'd enjoy Fall Of Hearts, rather than being disappointed by it as a rehashing of material you already enjoy.

_____

In general these guys have been one of my favorite groups for over 20 years, and I can listen to something by them at nearly any time, depending on my mood. I don't know that I have one "favorite", but I have memories entangled with most of their stuff. A chronological journey follows.

1998 - I got turned on to them when Discouraged Ones was released: living by myself, listening to a bunch of Swans, going out to the local goth clubs, trying to write songs and make art in my spare time. Something about the dismal yet warm simplicity of this album sucked me in. Top picks: "I Break", "Nerve"

1999 - I fell in love with them because of Tonight's Decision: better musicianship, more involved songwriting, vastly improved vocals, tighter sound, beautiful melodies. Swano behind the kit. I was still living by myself in North Carolina, prepping for college in NYC, feeling change in the air. This album hit me right between the eyes. Top picks: "I Am Nothing", "No Good Can Come Of This"

2000 - I got hugely into their older albums: early days and late nights in New York City, Brave Murder Day the soundtrack to passing by a church on 14th st, or walking through leaves in Washington Square Park. Wrapped in aloneness, the sparse nature of the music was a perfect fit. In retrospect, this might have been the happiest time of my life. Dance Of December Souls slots in here too, although it took a while before I'd fully appreciate it. Top picks: "Brave", "Murder", "Rainroom"

2001 - I was transported to heights of rapture by Last Fair Deal Gone Down: Napster days in the freshman dorm, sharing their existing albums with my girlfriend, watching songs from this album trickle in hour by hour, chatting online with the people who were uploading them, snorting those shit quality mp3s like an addict. We bought the CD as soon as we could find it. Daniel Liljekvist was a wizard behind the kit; they took yet another leap in musicianship and songwriting, and found that perfect, organic, mid-heavy sound. It seemed like they had finally succeeded at what they'd been trying to do all along. Top picks: "Chrome", "The Future Of Speech"

2003 - I was initially very disappointed by Viva Emptiness, but eventually came around: this album was the beginning of the mechanically polished mixes that would become their mainstay, with their insistent downbeat replaced by an awkward bounce. Jonas brought his unfortunate penchant for gratuitous curse words to the forefront, like a six-year-old who calls someone a "dildo" without knowing exactly what it means. This album was argued over by me and good friends in apartments with cheap gas stoves and overactive radiators. After listening to it for long enough, the stuff I didn't like faded into the background. I'll put this on whenever. Top pick: "Evidence"

2006 - I was blown away by The Great Cold Distance: having worked my way into an appreciation of the previous album, this one didn't throw me for a loop. Sharing a godawful, decaying house on truck stop property in central PA with a friend, the early release of "My Twin" seemed to encapsulate the post-apocalyptic emotional landscape I found myself in, and spoke to me of finding small joys at rock bottom. Months later, the full-length was everything the singles had promised - another evolution in their melodic sense, some newly stark rhythmic bones behind their songs, and that awkward bounce harnessed to purpose as a lulling sense of groove. Mattias Norrmann's bass lines made a lot of good things better. Top picks: "My Twin", "Soil's Song", "July"

2009 - I got disappointed again by the stilted and artificial quality of Night Is The New Day: I still don't love this album, and I only put it on when I'm on a road trip, or if I'm in a Katatonia mood and I've already played the rest of them. Good sections and fond memories of it as part of a Thanksgiving celebration at my old apartment in Brooklyn do little to outweigh the forced heaviness and clunky songwriting. Top pick: "The Longest Year" (which has some of the best and worst qualities of the album as a whole)

2012 - I found a pleasant surprise in the comparatively relaxed and un-forced Dead End Kings: after NITND, I wasn't expecting much, but this album sounded like the logical successor to Great Cold Distance. It felt like a presentation of the same ideas from the previous couple of albums, but brought into new focus - streamlined, good dynamics, no momentum wasted on non-sequiturs and half-baked riffs. Katatonia was back! This album became a frequent companion on road trips, so for me it's the sound of moving through a shifting landscape, watching ribbons of asphalt spool away beneath me. Top pick: "The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here"

Fall Of Hearts sounds like a mishmash of leftovers to me; by far my least favorite of their albums and the only one I don't own.

I think the tracks they save for their EPs are mostly awesome; I never minded that they weren't on the albums. They're cool little nuggets of greatness scattered here and there like rewards for digging through the catalog, and I think by and large they stand well on their own, while some album tracks are better in context. An extra few songs would have made any of the albums feel bloated. Sounds Of Decay and Teargas are probably my favorite Katatonia EPs; "Sulfur" has been one of my favorite songs of theirs since I first heard it.

Live, Katatonia has been all over the place. They were awful the first two times I saw them - thin sound, hoarse vocals, no stage presence - but well after I'd come to accept them as a studio band with no live chops, I saw them touring with Opeth, and they were phenomenal. Jonas has very little charisma; he's at his best when you can tell he's forgotten that anybody's watching. Dan Liljekvist was their beating heart onstage, professional and flawless. If I had fuck-you money, I'd probably pay some of it to see them reunite with him at a good venue.

I'm going to also give props to early October Tide, Diabolical Masquerade, and even some Bloodbath. Nystrom and Renkse are a great team and they've been behind a lot of my favorite music. I don't get into what their bands have done over the past couple of years, but that's a blip in proportion to what I do like, and I'm still interested to hear what they do next. Viva Gloominess.

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5 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

To my ears, they did everything on that album better with their previous efforts, but I guess since you don't like those albums that much, it makes a weird kind of sense that you'd enjoy Fall Of Hearts, rather than being disappointed by it as a rehashing of material you already enjoy.

_____

In general these guys have been one of my favorite groups for over 20 years, and I can listen to something by them at nearly any time, depending on my mood. I don't know that I have one "favorite", but I have memories entangled with most of their stuff. A chronological journey follows.

1998 - I got turned on to them when Discouraged Ones was released: living by myself, listening to a bunch of Swans, going out to the local goth clubs, trying to write songs and make art in my spare time. Something about the dismal yet warm simplicity of this album sucked me in. Top picks: "I Break", "Nerve"

1999 - I fell in love with them because of Tonight's Decision: better musicianship, more involved songwriting, vastly improved vocals, tighter sound, beautiful melodies. Swano behind the kit. I was still living by myself in North Carolina, prepping for college in NYC, feeling change in the air. This album hit me right between the eyes. Top picks: "I Am Nothing", "No Good Can Come Of This"

2000 - I got hugely into their older albums: early days and late nights in New York City, Brave Murder Day the soundtrack to passing by a church on 14th st, or walking through leaves in Washington Square Park. Wrapped in aloneness, the sparse nature of the music was a perfect fit. In retrospect, this might have been the happiest time of my life. Dance Of December Souls slots in here too, although it took a while before I'd fully appreciate it. Top picks: "Brave", "Murder", "Rainroom"

2001 - I was transported to heights of rapture by Last Fair Deal Gone Down: Napster days in the freshman dorm, sharing their existing albums with my girlfriend, watching songs from this album trickle in hour by hour, chatting online with the people who were uploading them, snorting those shit quality mp3s like an addict. We bought the CD as soon as we could find it. Daniel Liljekvist was a wizard behind the kit; they took yet another leap in musicianship and songwriting, and found that perfect, organic, mid-heavy sound. It seemed like they had finally succeeded at what they'd been trying to do all along. Top picks: "Chrome", "The Future Of Speech"

2003 - I was initially very disappointed by Viva Emptiness, but eventually came around: this album was the beginning of the mechanically polished mixes that would become their mainstay, with their insistent downbeat replaced by an awkward bounce. Jonas brought his unfortunate penchant for gratuitous curse words to the forefront, like a six-year-old who calls someone a "dildo" without knowing exactly what it means. This album was argued over by me and good friends in apartments with cheap gas stoves and overactive radiators. After listening to it for long enough, the stuff I didn't like faded into the background. I'll put this on whenever. Top pick: "Evidence"

2006 - I was blown away by The Great Cold Distance: having worked my way into an appreciation of the previous album, this one didn't throw me for a loop. Sharing a godawful, decaying house on truck stop property in central PA with a friend, the early release of "My Twin" seemed to encapsulate the post-apocalyptic emotional landscape I found myself in, and spoke to me of finding small joys at rock bottom. Months later, the full-length was everything the singles had promised - another evolution in their melodic sense, some newly stark rhythmic bones behind their songs, and that awkward bounce harnessed to purpose as a lulling sense of groove. Mattias Norrmann's bass lines made a lot of good things better. Top picks: "My Twin", "Soil's Song", "July"

2009 - I got disappointed again by the stilted and artificial quality of Night Is The New Day: I still don't love this album, and I only put it on when I'm on a road trip, or if I'm in a Katatonia mood and I've already played the rest of them. Good sections and fond memories of it as part of a Thanksgiving celebration at my old apartment in Brooklyn do little to outweigh the forced heaviness and clunky songwriting. Top pick: "The Longest Year" (which has some of the best and worst qualities of the album as a whole)

2012 - I found a pleasant surprise in the comparatively relaxed and un-forced Dead End Kings: after NITND, I wasn't expecting much, but this album sounded like the logical successor to Great Cold Distance. It felt like a presentation of the same ideas from the previous couple of albums, but brought into new focus - streamlined, good dynamics, no momentum wasted on non-sequiturs and half-baked riffs. Katatonia was back! This album became a frequent companion on road trips, so for me it's the sound of moving through a shifting landscape, watching ribbons of asphalt spool away beneath me. Top pick: "The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here"

Fall Of Hearts sounds like a mishmash of leftovers to me; by far my least favorite of their albums and the only one I don't own.

I think the tracks they save for their EPs are mostly awesome; I never minded that they weren't on the albums. They're cool little nuggets of greatness scattered here and there like rewards for digging through the catalog, and I think by and large they stand well on their own, while some album tracks are better in context. An extra few songs would have made any of the albums feel bloated. Sounds Of Decay and Teargas are probably my favorite Katatonia EPs; "Sulfur" has been one of my favorite songs of theirs since I first heard it.

Live, Katatonia has been all over the place. They were awful the first two times I saw them - thin sound, hoarse vocals, no stage presence - but well after I'd come to accept them as a studio band with no live chops, I saw them touring with Opeth, and they were phenomenal. Jonas has very little charisma; he's at his best when you can tell he's forgotten that anybody's watching. Dan Liljekvist was their beating heart onstage, professional and flawless. If I had fuck-you money, I'd probably pay some of it to see them reunite with him at a good venue.

I'm going to also give props to early October Tide, Diabolical Masquerade, and even some Bloodbath. Nystrom and Renkse are a great team and they've been behind a lot of my favorite music. I don't get into what their bands have done over the past couple of years, but that's a blip in proportion to what I do like, and I'm still interested to hear what they do next. Viva Gloominess.

Your timeline of Katanonic experience really closely mirrors my own. 

I got into the band with ‘Discouraged Ones’ although my first album was ‘Tonight’s Decision’ shortly after its release. I was mesmerised by the artwork on that album, and still am: the booklet is Travis Smith’s best work.

Our experiences from 1998 to 2003 were not just similar but practically identical, although afer that we diverge. ‘The Great Cold Distance’ was a hard slog for me initially and even now I don’t love its rather unexciting alternative chug, except in parts. I also find ‘Dead End Kings’ to be far inferior to their modern meisterwerk ‘The Fall of Hearts’ which I find to be next level, although sometimes a little too much Opeth worship in the acoustic and proggy parts. Look deep into your heart and give it another chance. 

Interesting sidenote, I feel that I have a better appreciation of ‘Night is the New Day’ this year than at any time I the past. That album is finally starting to click for me. It only took 9 years. 

Edit: (Apart from calling Opeth "Oprah" and having to change that....) I'm actually really surprised that you are a fan of the post 'Brave New World' era of Katatonia. I hadn't really picked that up over the course of my tenure in these unhallowed pages). 

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11 hours ago, Requiem said:

Your timeline of Katanonic experience really closely mirrors my own. 

I got into the band with ‘Discouraged Ones’ although my first album was ‘Tonight’s Decision’ shortly after its release. I was mesmerised by the artwork on that album, and still am: the booklet is Travis Smith’s best work.

Our experiences from 1998 to 2003 were not just similar but practically identical, although afer that we diverge. ‘The Great Cold Distance’ was a hard slog for me initially and even now I don’t love its rather unexciting alternative chug, except in parts. I also find ‘Dead End Kings’ to be far inferior to their modern meisterwerk ‘The Fall of Hearts’ which I find to be next level, although sometimes a little too much Opeth worship in the acoustic and proggy parts. Look deep into your heart and give it another chance. 

Interesting sidenote, I feel that I have a better appreciation of ‘Night is the New Day’ this year than at any time I the past. That album is finally starting to click for me. It only took 9 years. 

Edit: (Apart from calling Opeth "Oprah" and having to change that....) I'm actually really surprised that you are a fan of the post 'Brave New World' era of Katatonia. I hadn't really picked that up over the course of my tenure in these unhallowed pages). 

Maybe you got me confused with BAN, he hates everything after Brave Murder Day. I'm pretty sure my opinion of Fall Of Hearts won't change, but I'll try to give it a fair listen again at some point. I know we've talked about it before, but this whole time compression thing kind of sucks; it's hard to believe that it's been nearly seven years since Dead End Kings, and I haven't gotten into anything more recent. I didn't care for the "soft version" they put out, and I just listened to Kocytean again yesterday and found myself unmoved.

I'll take Opeth over Oprah any day, but that's just me. Given our other tastes, it's funny that I like their more streamlined material and you're sticking up for the prog element. On paper, it should be the opposite... maybe there's hope for you yet! :D

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On 11/19/2018 at 5:31 AM, FatherAlabaster said:

Maybe you got me confused with BAN, he hates everything after Brave Murder Day. I'm pretty sure my opinion of Fall Of Hearts won't change, but I'll try to give it a fair listen again at some point. I know we've talked about it before, but this whole time compression thing kind of sucks; it's hard to believe that it's been nearly seven years since Dead End Kings, and I haven't gotten into anything more recent. I didn't care for the "soft version" they put out, and I just listened to Kocytean again yesterday and found myself unmoved.

I'll take Opeth over Oprah any day, but that's just me. Given our other tastes, it's funny that I like their more streamlined material and you're sticking up for the prog element. On paper, it should be the opposite... maybe there's hope for you yet! :D

It should be said that I definitely prefer the more straight ahead rock tracks on 'The Fall of Hearts' much more than the prog material. Yeah, it was hard to miss BAN's anti-rock stance when it came to the Katas. 

You mentioned, quite rightly, that Katatonia have fantastic 'side B' tracks as well, and the two bonus songs from 'The Fall of Hearts' are some of my favourites of theirs: 'Wide Awake in Quietus' and 'Vakaren', the former a great classic Katatonia rock track with the latter being a fairly experimental urban European atmospheric piece. The final track 'Departer' is also one of my favourite moments from the band - that last line when Jonas sings "Divide like wings" as his girlfriend is disappearing over the horizon in a plane. Oh man, the feels. 

So, in summary, when it comes to 'The Fall of Hearts' I would rate 'Takeover', 'Serein', 'Old Hearts Fall', 'Departer', Vakaren' and 'Wide Awake in Quietus' as near perfect songs for the Requiem palate. That really makes up for the less engaging proggy songs like 'Serac' (which I believe should have been left off the album), as well as the softer tracks like 'Shifts' which don't really tickle my pickle. 

I could easily make a compilation of their bonus tracks/side b's and it would almost be their best release hahaha. 'Help Me Disappear', 'March 4', 'Sulphur', 'Unfurl', 'Wait Outside'. Goddamn, all their best songs (nearly) are bonus tracks. 

 

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14 hours ago, Requiem said:

It should be said that I definitely prefer the more straight ahead rock tracks on 'The Fall of Hearts' much more than the prog material. Yeah, it was hard to miss BAN's anti-rock stance when it came to the Katas. 

You mentioned, quite rightly, that Katatonia have fantastic 'side B' tracks as well, and the two bonus songs from 'The Fall of Hearts' are some of my favourites of theirs: 'Wide Awake in Quietus' and 'Vakaren', the former a great classic Katatonia rock track with the latter being a fairly experimental urban European atmospheric piece. The final track 'Departer' is also one of my favourite moments from the band - that last line when Jonas sings "Divide like wings" as his girlfriend is disappearing over the horizon in a plane. Oh man, the feels. 

So, in summary, when it comes to 'The Fall of Hearts' I would rate 'Takeover', 'Serein', 'Old Hearts Fall', 'Departer', Vakaren' and 'Wide Awake in Quietus' as near perfect songs for the Requiem palate. That really makes up for the less engaging proggy songs like 'Serac' (which I believe should have been left off the album), as well as the softer tracks like 'Shifts' which don't really tickle my pickle. 

I could easily make a compilation of their bonus tracks/side b's and it would almost be their best release hahaha. 'Help Me Disappear', 'March 4', 'Sulphur', 'Unfurl', 'Wait Outside'. Goddamn, all their best songs (nearly) are bonus tracks. 

 

I actually did that back in college with all the extra tracks I could find from Last Fair Deal backwards. I always really liked "Quiet World" and "Scarlet Heavens". I'd be so happy if they put out a real, career-spanning B-sides collection with all of that rare stuff and no album tracks.

By "Departer" I think you mean "Passer", right? "Departer" is the last track on NITND.

_____

Regarding The Fall Of Hearts, I'm going to eat my words above. I've been listening to it a lot over the past few days and I love it now. It's not unusual for me to dislike something for years before finally getting into it, but that's usually a more gradual process. All I could hear in this when it came out was rearranged fragments of other albums held together by a weak glue of awkward prog transitions; in true Necker cube/duck-rabbit fashion, my perspective has flipped, and I hear it as fresh and heartfelt songwriting, growing past the formula they'd been refining since Viva Emptiness, within which rearranged fragments of their previous albums surface like old friends. So, thank you, @Requiem, for sticking up for this album and prompting me to give it another shot.

I've been listening to it on Youtube and I like those bonus tracks too -- "Vakaren" makes me wish they'd done a lot more songs in Swedish. But the $40-60 for the import or deluxe versions of this album aren't in the budget. One more thing I can look forward to on the tenth-anniversary reissue in 2026...

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2 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

I actually did that back in college with all the extra tracks I could find from Last Fair Deal backwards. I always really liked "Quiet World" and "Scarlet Heavens". I'd be so happy if they put out a real, career-spanning B-sides collection with all of that rare stuff and no album tracks.

By "Departer" I think you mean "Passer", right? "Departer" is the last track on NITND.

_____

Regarding The Fall Of Hearts, I'm going to eat my words above. I've been listening to it a lot over the past few days and I love it now. It's not unusual for me to dislike something for years before finally getting into it, but that's usually a more gradual process. All I could hear in this when it came out was rearranged fragments of other albums held together by a weak glue of awkward prog transitions; in true Necker cube/duck-rabbit fashion, my perspective has flipped, and I hear it as fresh and heartfelt songwriting, growing past the formula they'd been refining since Viva Emptiness, within which rearranged fragments of their previous albums surface like old friends. So, thank you, @Requiem, for sticking up for this album and prompting me to give it another shot.

I've been listening to it on Youtube and I like those bonus tracks too -- "Vakaren" makes me wish they'd done a lot more songs in Swedish. But the $40-60 for the import or deluxe versions of this album aren't in the budget. One more thing I can look forward to on the tenth-anniversary reissue in 2026...

Correct, I do mean 'Passer'. What with song titles like 'Forsaker', 'Departer', Passer', 'Leaders', 'Follower' it's easy to get tripped up with names. A song by any other name would sound as sweet. 'Departer' is a brilliant song too though, while we're at it. 

On bonus tracks, I forgot to mention the great 'No Devotion' from the 'Tonight's Decision' sessions. The end of that song in particular is brilliant and atmospheric. Agree regarding 'Quiet World' and 'Scarlet Heavens'. Also throw into the mix 'Untrue' from the 'Sounds of Decay' sessions (what a song!) and 'Dissolving Bonds' and 'Displaced' from 'The Great Cold Distance' and there is more than enough quality for a great compilation release. 

Good to hear that 'The Fall of Hearts' is sinking in. I actually can't find any version of the album with both 'Vakaren' and 'Wide Awake in Quietus' on it at all - it's either one track or the other. My cd version has 'Vakaren' and I bought 'Wide Awake...' on itunes. 

I've also edited my initial ranking in the first post of this thread to better represent my current feelings, with 'Night is the New Day' going up and 'The Great Cold Distance' going down. 

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2 hours ago, Requiem said:

 

I've also edited my initial ranking in the first post of this thread to better represent my current feelings, with 'Night is the New Day' going up and 'The Great Cold Distance' going down. 

I hope the brilliance of The Great Cold Distance clicks with you someday. It's the peak of their "clean modern" sound IMO. 

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3 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

I hope the brilliance of The Great Cold Distance clicks with you someday. It's the peak of their "clean modern" sound IMO. 

Urgh.. maybe. I just can't stand those chugging guitars. It's like alternative-core or something. I feel that the album doesn't have the emotional atmosphere of pretty much all their other albums and it has so much filler.

The whole album alienates me somehow, although I do love 'Leaders', 'My Twin' and 'Journey Through Pressure'. Spanking tracks, those. 

Also I forgot to mention the new drummer on 'The Fall of Hearts', Daniel Moilanen. While of course I love Daniel Liljekvist's amazing work, I was a bit worried when I heard that they were changing drummers, but wow what a fantastic drummer Moilanen turned out to be. I'm well pleased. 

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