Album Review: Katatonia – City Burials (Peaceville Records)

Katatonia, formed in 1991 by Jonas Renkse & Anders Nyström have transitioning from early pioneers of the rising black/death/doom movement, to powerhouses of the progressive metallic rock genre. Surprising their legions of admirers by taking an unexpected break, following the conclusion of their 2016 haunting The Fall Of Hearts album tour cycle. Joyously, 2020 brings the news that they are back with City Burials.

Inspired by an injection of fresh blood into Katatonia’s creative brew, with their most recent recruit, guitarist Roger Öjersson, whose contributions have been extremely significant, City Burials is an album that sees the band reclaim part of their heavy metal roots. It also sees the return to the Katatonia fold of Anders Eriksson (Frank Default) beloved for his keyboard contributions to Night Is The New Day, Dead End Kings and various remixes.

City Burials will be released on April 24th 2020 via Peaceville Records.

The progressive powerhouse that is Katatonia are back with another eclectic and electric offering. An album of melodious wonder, epic wandering soundscapes and some good old fashioned heavy metal head-bangers. Sometimes all in the same song such as opener Heart Set to Divide. Haunting and emotive but with flashes of heavier influences.

Simplifying things ever so slightly, Behind the Blood is at first, a more straight-forward heavy track. Although, the clean singing and classy production job give it a much neater harder rocking edge. As it develops, the band’s more recognisable progressive edge begins to rise up.

Which is grand timing as previously released single, Lacquer follows that. A track that is heavy on the effects and very slow-paced. It’s certainly a unique offering and something you shouls expect from such an eclectic band.

A bit of a pick me up, Rein’s bursts of guitar-driven rhythm, yet with dark intensity eases the album forward before The Winter of Our Passing leans compellingly into the lightness and comfort that does litter City Burials. Lightness and comfort that pours from the eerily mellow, Vanishers.

Never one to dwell in the deep mire for too long, even more impressive guitar proficiency emerges from City Glaciers and Flicker like flowers coming into bloom. Challenging but fascinating, something Katatonia prove to be in masterful control of.

It makes the short, keyboard melody of Lachesis all the more palatable, the sweetness washing over like small waves. A chance to reflect before Katatonia go all out with the impressive riffs, technical wackiness of Neon Epitaph and peaceful effects driven Untrodden. A very powerful and very emotionally draining closer.

The exhaustion felt isn’t overpowering though, instead the over-riding feeling is one of satisfaction. Track after track, time after time… City Burials uncovers more and more of its hidden layers.

Katatonia – City Burials Full Track Listing:

1. Heart Set To Divide
2. Behind The Blood
3. Lacquer
4. Rein
5. The Winter Of Our Passing
6. Vanishers
7. City Glaciers
8. Flicker
9. Lachesis
10. Neon Epitaph
11. Untrodden


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Katatonia - City Burials (Peaceville Records)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
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