Katatonia: Dead End Kings – album review

Katatonia: Dead End Kings (Peaceville Records)
Out Now

Katatonia are now into their third decade together as a band & have just released their ninth long player. Nick Wood’s been listening to the album for us & has concluded that it’s a complex beast & that frankly it’s as good as anything they’ve already released.

Progressive Metal is seemingly more popular now than ever, with many bands drifting in their old age towards complex time signatures, bombastic keyboards and “more than a mere chug” guitar sound. Following the likes of Anathema and Opeth, Katatonia have immersed themselves into a dark gothic prog rock band sound.

And it is dark. Boy is it dark. It’s darker than the centre of God’s new gift to proper chocolate lovers, the Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M. And it’s their best album since “Last Fair Deal Gone Down”.

There’s so much going on you have to listen a few times before the complexities become the catchiest thing you’ve heard for weeks. The song structures are so strong, putting their previous efforts to write songs like this to shame, and that’s no mean feat. Kicking off with the “The Parting” to put you in the (bad) mood that the rest of the album follows.

I think they manage to pull it off without sounding like a fifth former writing poetry or a bloody Emo band! Guitarist and songwriter Ander Nyström has honed his craft and it shines through, especially on highlight and final track “The Act of Darkening” (Can you see a pattern developing with the song titles?).

The only worry now is if they completely ignore the heavy sound in the future and lose the edge that keeps them attractive to Heavy Metal fans. They all have other projects, including the mighty Bloodbath, but as long as Katatonia keep their sound moving forward and retain their Metalness they will continue to gain good reviews.

Katatonia’s website is here. They are on Twitter as @KatatoniaBand and you can find them on Facebook here.

All words by Nick Wood. More Louder Than War articles by Nick can be found here.

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