After almost calling it quits back in 2018, Katatonia is back with their eleventh studio album.
Four years since their last album, The Fall Of Hearts, and two years since their hiatus, Katatonia conquer new territory with the release of their latest album, City Burials.
Released this April, the band have produced potentially their most experimental album yet. Whilst remaining loyal to their refined, progressive sound, Katatonia still manage to excite their listeners by incorporating something new into the album, giving them a new lease of life.
Formed back in 1991, the Swedish band have now become renowned for their delicate, heart-rending approach, bringing a sense of elegance to the metal genre through their vintage classicism. Now, with songs such as ‘Heart Set To Divide’ and ‘City Glaciers’, City Burials shows Katatonia as producing some of their most refined work to date.
Reminiscent to bands such as Opeth and Porcupine Tree, Jonas Renkse’s haunting vocals take the reigns through the majority of the album, playing with different layers to create one of their most beautiful albums to date. With their attention to detail, the regality of the album seems to shrug away the egocentric technicality commonly associated with progressive bands, instead, generating a melancholic atmosphere throughout the album.
That being said, City Burials by no means grows stagnant as it progresses. Taking inspiration from their covers of Judas Priest’s ‘Night Comes Down’ on their last tour, Katatonia also ventures into new territory, incorporating impressive examples of shred and hard-hitting riffs.
‘Behind The Blood’, ‘Rein’ and ‘Flicker’ demonstrate this perfectly. Blending a mix of Katatonia’s distinctive and immersive sound alongside a rediscovery of their heavier roots, the album is a refreshing part of the band’s extensive discography.
Considerably shorter than their previous album, City Burials pushes boundaries even further, making their songs heavier and more accessible to wider audiences without ever losing their distinctive edge. From the classical-electronic backdrop of their lead single, ‘Lacquer’ to the arena-friendly simplicity of the closing track, ‘Fighters’, Katatonia refuse to confine themselves in the album- striving to surprise the most devoted fans and open themselves up to new listeners.
Despite what feels like slight moments of conflict throughout the album as songs leap between alternating genres, the album still seems to flow with an elegance that ties it together.
Experimenting with new sounds, the band hints that a new direction that is to be installed later down the line. Gently edging around different genres as the album develops, City Burials feels to be an album signifying the band’s personal growth following their hiatus and a refreshing transition into something new.
Whilst it may require multiple listens in order to be fully appreciated, Katatonia’s eleventh album allows the band to not only return with a bang, but to allow themselves space to experiment in their music- keeping fans on the edge of their seat and signifying an exciting new sound is still yet to come.
City Burials is out now via Peaceville Records and available on all streaming platforms.