Katatonia‘s 2012 offering Dead End Kings was a fantastic album that graced many of our year end lists here at Heavy Blog, as well as many others around the metal community. It’s the type of dark, brooding atmospheric metal that fans of Katatonia have come to expect. And while the release was nearly six months ago, the band have just unveiled a video for the track ‘Lethean’ off of Dead End Kings. It’s available through the Swedish site Rocknytt.com, right here
I’m not going to go on about how great 2012 was for music, because everyone of my co-writers has already done that and then some. There’s no denying it was great, so let’s just move on. I’m writing this list pretty last minute, as I’ve had my choices locked in for some time, and I thought, “Hey, I’m not confused about anything, so I can push it back as far as possible”, and that was a terrible idea, as I’m now scrambling to get this thing finished, and having a hard time really talking about why I like these albums. However, I was the one who reviewed a lot of these, so if you find what I have to say on each individual one lacking, just go read my review or the reviews of the other albums written by my fellow contributors.
Honestly though, I did not love 2012 as much as everyone else. Maybe it was the events in my personal life that caused me to have such a poor outlook on a lot of the earlier releases of the year, but it’s hard to deny the fact that I just did not connect with nearly as many metal releases this year as I did last year. It’s a shame, but not something I’ve overly thought about, because I’ve found other music to enjoy throughout the year. That being said, I did happen to find a good handful of great albums that I anticipate listening to for many years. Like I said, I’ve had my choices for my list picked out for some time, and that’s because I knew which albums I loved, and which albums I wanted to continually listen to for many years to come. I wasn’t wowed by a lot of the big name bands; I found Meshuggah and Gojira lacking a bit, which were two of my my anticipated albums of this year, but that’s okay. Sometimes you just can’t connect with certain albums. And even though metal wasn’t all that great for me this year, I still love the genre, and it’s still my favorite type of music to listen to. Anyways, that’s why I listen to metal, and that’s really all I have to say on the matter, so here’s my top ten albums of the year.
01. The Parting
02. The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here
04. The Racing Heart
08. Unto You
10. First Prayer
11. Dead Letters
As any fan of metal music should know, darkness can be a beautiful thing; with this firmly in mind Katatonia have continuously set out to carve beautiful and melodic albums that are deeply entrenched in the gloomier side of the human subconscious. Through a heavy reliance on imagery that calls to mind thoughts of isolation, depression, death, and loss, the band capture a spirit of fear and beauty while at the same time continuously furthering themselves from the metal template, much like their Swedish peers, Opeth — another band whose formative years were rooted in death metal. Unlike Opeth, however, Katatonia have taken a decidedly more subtle and transitional route to developing their sound; slowing changing, adding, and subtracting elements from each release to create something that is entirely their own, as opposed to the jarring and slightly unsettling abandonment of metal qualities as on Opeth’s latest release, Heritage.
I’ve been pretty stoked on Katatonia since their last record Night Is The New Day. Yes, I was a bit late to the party. It seems like it’s been too long since we’ve heard from them, so I’ve been ready for new Katatonia for a while, and fortunately they’re back with an upcoming record titled Dead End Kings this August. The first taste of the new record came in today in the form of a lyric video for ‘Dead Letters,’ and it certainly fills the void. The album’s artwork is just excellent, and that Tool-inspired guitar groove — coupled with Jonas Renkse’s melancholic vocals — bodes well for the rest of the album.