When I started my musical journey exploring the most diverse and artistic genres in extreme music back in 2007, Sweden’s Katatonia were one of the most authentic and depressive bands I’ve stumbled upon to really appreciate their beautiful songwriting and influence they’ve created for the scene. Anyone who is familiar with this band knows who they are but those who are unaware of Katatonia, they’ve been in the extreme metal world for almost 30 years in their existence and featuring members from Bloodbath. Originally playing a death doom project from 1993’s debut Dance Of December Souls and 1996’s Brave Murder Day to when they shape shifted their sound to a much more progressive, gothic and alternative rock based approach with 2009’s Night Is The New Day, 2012’s Dead End Kings and the last record was released in 2016 with The Fall Of Hearts which was acclaimed to be the most thoughtful, emotional and diverse records the band has done in their career. Now fast forward to 2020 with Peaceville Record’s City Burials being the band’s 12th full-length release.
What makes Katatonia and their music so simplistic, yet elegant is every song represented here captures that emotion, character and have revealed new territory which may not be suitable for longtime fans of Katatonia but however, if you loved Night Is The New Day you’re going to enjoy this release front to back. This is a record that not only will take multiple listens to appreciate the album’s concept, lyrical content, musical growth and development but as a casual listener to Katatonia I can safely say the amount of heart and soul poured into this release has never been so satisfying and have not cease to disappoint. Every member from this project have contributed such a broad array of stylistic arrangements and keeping the traditional production sound of the last couple Katatonia releases has been tighter, cleaner and cleaner without any sort of repetitiveness of the guitars, vocals, drums,bass and keeping its atmosphere polished and natural is what I have always admired from the band as a whole.
There’s also a counterbalance between melody and intensity where majority of these tracks such as Flicker, The Winter Of Our Passing, Neon Epitaph and Heart Set To Divide for example introduces complex guitars, heavy rhythms, soothing to aggressive vocals and drumming, the drumming adds some technicality in the mixture where it’s not just doing it the fastest way possible but it brings a gothic metal style where each symbol and note really shatters your soul to oblivion. This record not only does a phenomenal job bringing a fresh, balanced, and diversified release but when you’re talking about beauty and personality, Katatonia’s City Burials will appeal to fans of gothic, alternative and progressive metal that’ll be discussed for years to come.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Jake Butler