Katatonia - Night Is The New Day
Peaceville Records
Atmospheric Dark Rock/Metal
11 songs (48:40)
Release year: 2009
Katatonia, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Khelek
Album of the month

When I think of Katatonia, what comes to mind are dark, melancholy soundscapes unlike any other. The legendary Swedish band formed in 1991 and has been evolving their unique sound ever since, going from a death and doom metal sound to a more melodic, atmospheric one. I really enjoyed their previous album, 2006's The Great Cold Distance, in fact it remains one of my favorite albums by the band and one that I still listen to on a regular basis. Somehow I knew that this new album would be different, but I was not sure how. Now after spending a good amount of time with it, I can say that it is certainly different, but in a good way. The simple melody and catchiness of The Great Cold Distance, hereafter referred to as TGCD, is still present to some extent, but overall Night Is The New Day is slower, more thoughtful, and showing a bit more diversity in the songwriting. I think this album will catch some fans off guard because, at least for me, most of what I have been listening to from the band for the past couple years has been TGCD, so this release can be a bit surprising.

The heaviness of opening song Forsaker immediately reminds me of the last album and makes me think we're going to get The Great Cold Distance part 2 perhaps. The chorus is huge and memorable, Jonas Renske's vocal work is clean and strong, and the song is driven by heavy yet melodic guitar work. The next track, The Longest Year, slows things down a bit, though the heavy and memorable guitar-driven chorus is still present. Idle Blood is really where the album begins to sink into a more contemplative mood, and stays there for much of the rest of the album. This song also reminds me of slower, more atmospheric Opeth tracks such as Coil, and comparisons can obviously be made between Renske's clean vocals and Mikael Akerfeldt's. Liberation is the last song to incorporate an immediately recognizable verse-chorus structure with the powerful, memorable chorus. The rest of the album is quite varied, at times using heavier, distorted riffs, and at others relying mainly on keyboards and clean electric guitars. The songs are more decidedly slower, building an atmosphere of darkness and leading you through the night. The Promise Of Deceit and Day And Then The Shade both incorporate a lot of chugging, heavy riffs, but also move at a slower pace than the other heavy songs on the album.

Unlike TGCD, this is not an album you can listen to once or twice while you're doing other things and expect to get a lot out of it. This album needs to be listened to preferably all by itself as I soon discovered. You really cannot take it all in unless you really sit down and just listen to it. Admittedly a lot of the reason I liked TGCD was because of its use of melodic guitar and very catchy and memorable choruses. That for me is what defined TGCD, and it made for very enjoyable sonic experience. This album is a different sort of animal, and after about 3-4 listens I still found myself familiar with only a handful of the songs. But, as I also discovered, it is the type of album you keep coming back to and hearing new things with each listen. This is can be heard especially well in the final track, Departer, which begins with the soft, melancholy piano and the clean vocals of Renske. This is really an epic, balladesque song that I think embodies the darkness and thoughtfulness that has been cultivated throughout the album. The guest vocals by Krister Linder sound great paired with Jonas Renske's. The dual vocals seem to represent two characters in a story, and the lyrics have a reference to the previous album in the line "It's the month of July" which I am sure many will recognize. Simply a great closing track.

After listening to this album in its entirety over and over, I can conclude that this is certainly the most complex album from the band in some time. The songs still go deep and dark into the musical and emotional spectrum, something those of us who enjoy Katatonia are very familiar with in their music, however, these songs really show the band maturing and evolving even more, past some of the more simple catchiness found on TGCD and into a realm of music that really demands that you listen closely. In spending a week with the album I certainly have not uncovered all it has to offer, but I can say that I will be listening to it often. Furthermore this album is just more complete in terms of being an album rather than a collection of songs. Every track just seems to flow together in a more meaningful way that I am really at a loss to describe. For these reasons I think both Katatonia fans as well as the casual listener will be more than happy with Night Is The New Day as it is an album that will keep your attention and reward the patient listener.

Killing Songs :
Forsaker, Idle Blood, Liberation, Day And Then The Shade, Departer
Khelek quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Katatonia that we have reviewed:
Katatonia - City Burials reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Katatonia - The Great Cold Distance reviewed by Al and quoted 93 / 100
Katatonia - Viva Emptiness reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
Katatonia - Last Fair Deal Gone Down reviewed by Danny and quoted 82 / 100
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