Katatonia – ‘Sky Void Of Stars’ Album review

    By Heather Laing.

    Returning with their 25th album, Katatonia set out to remind the world that nothing could be more beautifully melancholy than a ‘Sky Void of stars’ via Napalm Records.

    Recommended for fans of: Architects, Execution Day, Solstafir

    Described as the masters of melancholy metal, Swedish heavy metal band Katatonia has certainly left their mark on the alternative music scene. With 24 previous albums to their name, countless EPs and live performances, and an ever-evolving style that has allowed them to move from genre to genre with constant success; what is left to say about them that hasn’t already been said before? Hauntingly powerful and ever-evolving, they are Katatonia.

    As many fans of Katatonia will already know, one of the best elements about the band is their ability to try their hand at multiple styles and genres of music and still be able to produce sensational work with each attempt. Because of this, however, it is always best to expect the unexpected when it concerns a new album or EP. It will come as a shock to no one, especially die-hard fans that are more than aware this particular band likes to treat genres like pokemon (“gotta try ‘em all”) their 25th album ‘Sky Void Of Stars’ is no exception, bringing fans a brand new and entirely unique sound, that once again sets out to showcase just how incredibly talented this band truly is.

    This album is nothing short of an atmospheric masterpiece, with feelings and emotions dripping from every musical and lyrical note. The opening track ‘Austerity’ (released January 4th), has a certain moodiness to it which is almost bittersweet in nature as the lyrics tell a story of a person left behind by another under a thunderous beat of heavy drums mixed in with electric guitar. ‘Colossal Shade’ and ‘Drab Moon’ also make particular use of the drum and guitar instrumentals in order to emphasises their lyrics, although ‘Colossal Shade’ leans into the ‘call to arms’ style of their lyrics with a triumphant beat as the band sings of a group of outsiders gathering against the masses, while ‘Drab Moon’ sets a steady and sorrowful pace that seemingly ricochets throughout your body as the lyrics bring forth visuals of a lonely figure walking off into the rain. The track Impermanence is equally as powerful in its lyrical displays of sorrow and despair, although this track see’s the drums take a backseat in the instrumentals and lets the powerful guitar lyrics take centre stage alongside the vocals.

    The tracks ‘Birds’ and ‘Atrium’ (both released January 4th) are perhaps the fastest of the tracklist, albeit through very different deliveries. The introduction to Birds is an instantaneous explosion of fiery drums and electric guitar that is guaranteed to set off any mosh pit or headbanger within hearing distance. Atrium takes a much slower twist but is no less heavy, introducing the song with a series of powerful guitar riffs that will echo across a concert space before melting into the tempo of the drums and allowing the powerful vocals to take over. And as always with Katatonia’s incredible talent, the powerful presence of feelings and emotions remains. Much like ‘Colossal Shade,’ ‘Birds’ carries a very powerful and unshakable feeling of strength in the face of adversity, with powerful lyrics about the desire to uncover the truth and having the courage to let go of a comforting lie. ‘Atrium’ also takes on a victorious tune that brings forth the feeling of walking on with triumph and your head held high, which I doubt will never be more powerful than when millions of fans echo the lyrics back across an arena, spirits soaring to new heights and horns held high in the air.

    With all of this and more to offer, I think we can safely say Katatonia have once again produced an incredibly powerful and memorable album that truly showcases the band’s immeasurable talent. This is a band that not only has the ability to turn their hand to any alternative genre and produce amazing work each time, but also one that has become so incredibly well versed in this ability that it is now considered to be one of their best attributes by so many of their fans. I can say with confidence that current fans and newcomers alike will be delighted with this brand new album, be that whether you’re about to add it to your Katatonia collection, or about to do a deep internet dive because now you need to hear even more.

    Lets enjoy the ‘Sky Void Of Stars.’ We have Katatonia to remind us to sing into the night.

    Sky Void Of Stars – release date: 20th Jan 2023 via Napalm Records

    Colossal Shade
    Drab Moon
    To Beacon to Illuminate Our Fall
    Absconder (Bonus Track)

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