Katatonia: Dethroned And Uncrowned (Kscope)
2xLP / DL and as 2 disc (CD & DVD-AV) digibook set
In 2012 Katatonia released Dead End Kings, their ninth studio album. The album was immensely successful and showcased the masterful sorrow that the band can create. Dethroned & Uncrowned contains reimaginings of songs from Dead End Kings.
In 2012 Katatonia released Dead End Kings, their ninth studio album. The album was immensely successful and showcased the masterful sorrow that the band can create. The album was viewed as another step along the road to a more progressive sound. Dethroned & Uncrowned contains reimaginings of songs from Dead End Kings. These reworking of songs allows the band to explore the more progressive territory that they have begun to tread.
As the band has experimented with different styles and textures, Dethroned and Uncrowned should not be held up against any other album. In my opinion, it should be taken at face value for what it is. What it is, is a fantastic collection of songs that are a complete departure from the bands usual sound and which shows the tenacity and versatility of the band.
Many, if not all the guitars are stripped back and largely non existent. Three tracks go by before an electric guitar appears on Hypnone. The guitars are replaced staggeringly beautiful and soaring orchestration. The strings shine in many of the compositions across Dethroned & Uncrowned. An emphasis is also placed upon the use of piano. The Racing Heart opens with a haunting piano led introduction before similarly haunting vocals appear. Again, the strings help the track take off alongside the sound of acoustic guitars. As the track progresses the percussive side of the band make more of an appearance, and the keyboard tone continues to haunt. Buildings, feels like it has more pace. Some stunning piano work help create a very ‘out of this world’ atmosphere. Next track, Ambitions, again has more percussive elements with a highly lamenting melody that feels very unnerving at times. Dead Letters has the urgency of the original composition from Dead End Kings and again polishes of the album in a quality fashion.
Overall, this is a release that people are going to love or hate. If you’re a hardened Katatonia fan then perhaps the experimental, watered down nature of the songs will not appeal to you. If you’re a fan of lush orchestration with a highly sinister edge, and folk laden acoustic guitar tones mixed with sorrowful undertones, this will appeal to you. The album won’t win over a new fan base, however, I feel the band should be commended for their work. The songs are theirs and they’re free to do what they like. In the same way that Opeth have taken a more progressive line, and new label mates Anathema changed up their sound; Katatonia have flirted with change and come out better for it.
All words by By Dom Walsh. You can read more by Dom on Louder Than War here & follow him on Twitter if you’re so minded.