Label: Peaceville Releasedate: 24-04-2020
Katatonia needs no introduction. Last year, the band announced their return from the hiatus with an anniversary tour of Night is the New Day (2009). Here we are, one year later, to devour the brand new and eleventh studio album, City Burials.
It is no surprise that the Swedes of melancholy already gave signs of a change in their sound – although I would name it evolution – with the last albums. This change has gotten more obvious with this release; there are surely the typical Katatonia songs but the majority consists of songs in the upbeat tempo (Behind the Blood, Fighters, The Winter of Our Passing), which is quite different compared to the previous record. I even found the overall vibe less melancholic and more uplifting, with that big city vibes in my ears. At this point, I have to add that Katatonia albums feed that melancholic side of me but City Burials felt rather unusual and quite different in this sense.
City Burials offers some amazing highlights. Firstly, Jonas Renkse’s vocals seem more refreshed, diverse and stronger than ever. His voice creates magic with those signature guitar tunes and the melodies. But the twist comes with those downtempo and ‘progressive’ songs like Lacquer, Lachesis and Vanishers. These highlights, combined with the perfect arrangement make City Burials such a colorful, progressive and emotional album, offering many elements and never getting repetitive.
There are some flaws in the album and I think the band’s hiatus played a role in this. When you think about the pressure, the anticipation and the band’s reputation worldwide, it must not have been easy for them and this kind-of shows. The songs are well-composed but do not stay in the mind completely and the album does not flow that easily. On the other hand, I am quite curious about which direction the band will go with the future releases. One thing is certain though, as long as their essence is there, some good quality albums await us.
Long story short, City Burials is the perfect record for the open-minded Katatonia fans out there. Yes, the album is different and yes, it won’t be for everyone but change is needed, especially for bands like Katatonia and City Burials is another example of this. In any way, give this one a listen and decide for yourself.
- Jonas Renkse – vocals
- Anders Nyström – guitar
- Niklas Sandin – bass
- Daniel Moilanen – drums
- Roger Öjersson – guitar
01. Heart Set To Divide
02. Behind The Blood
05. The Winter Of Our Passing
07. City Glaciers
10. Neon Epitaph
Bonus Tracks available on various formats
12. Closing Of The Sky