KATATONIA's highly successful and much praised latest album, ‘Dead End Kings’, just recently shortlisted for a Swedish Grammy award in the “Best Metal Album” category, was released in August 2012 on Peaceville Records. The group's ninth lengthly testimony to sadness sold 3,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release and has debuted at position 138 on The Billboard Top 200. ‘Dead End Kings’, produced by lead guitarist Anders Nyström and vocalist and lyricist Jonas Renkse, and mixed by David Castillo, can be still enjoyed in full here (Exclaim.ca). Frank Default contributed sampling and atmospherics on the album and Norwegian vocalist's Silje Wergeland (of THE GATHERING) voice can be heard on the tune ‘The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here’. The album's artwork was supplied by KATATONIA's long-time visual collaborator Travis Smith and their new visuals come courtesy Lasse Hoile. Order ‘Dead End Kings’ from here (the album site), from where you can download the single ‘Dead Letters’ for free as well, and enjoy the song ‘Buildings’, more of new KATATONIA, via the YouTube player embedded below:
“ ‘Dead End Kings’ is [an] exploration of the deeply atmospheric, melodic brand of “dark rock” offered on the [KATATONIA's] earlier recording, but where the former [‘2009's ‘Night Is A New Day’] was so focused on being an album that was greater than the sum of its parts, the latter [‘Dead End Kings’] is a collection of tightly written songs that work in virtually any sequential context, making for a more compelling listen. … With its various parts, ever-shifting dynamics, and blazing instrumental interludes, it [the album'] sends the set off with a nearly majestic bang. ‘Dead End Kings’ is uncompromising in its musical excellence, bleak vision, and dark, hunted beauty; it extends KATATONIA's reach exponentially,” [wrote Thom Jurek, AllMusic – more here]
KATATONIA was formed in 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden by vocalist Jonas Renkse and guitarist Anders Nyström. In 1922, the pair issued a Dan Swanö-recorded “sludgy and doom-laden demo, with just a dab of classic black metal atmosphere to it” they named ‘Jhva Elohim Meth… The Revival’, which became a quite a hit in underground metal circles (as any demo called ‘Jhva’ would). Hiding under such illustrious names such as “Blakkheim”, “Lord Sith” and “Israphel Wing” (bassist Guillaume Le Huche), KATATONIA released their first LP, ‘Dance Of December Souls’, on Helion Records in 1993, what many consider to be their masterpiece, ‘Brave Murder Day’, in 1996 (with new guitarist Fredrik Norrman), and “either a masterpiece, or else something very close” (William York, AllMusic – more here), ‘Discouraged Ones’, in 1998 (with new bassist Micke Oretoft) on Avantgarde Music. KATATONIA signed a multi-album deal with Peaceville Records and issued their fourth full-length, ‘Tonight's Decision’, in 1999. Trying out a new lineup featuring bassist Mattias Norrman and drummer Daniel Liljekvist, KATATONIA first recorded an EP ‘Teargas’ and then full-length ‘Last Fair Deal Gone Down’, both released in 2001. ‘Viva Emptiness’ followed in 2003:
“… The other thing that sets KATATONIA apart from all of its peers with the possible exception of Liverpudlian quartet ANATHEMA is the band's lyrics. Virtually every track here will have the listener entering into a dialogue with Renske as he offers observations on everything from questioning the right to continued existence to revenge to determination to grief to alienation to political and social dystopian catastrophes, and even to glimmers of hope in the wasteland. ‘Viva Emptiness’ is a dynamically jarring and intellectually demanding yet musically accessible journey to the dark side and back, full of glorious riffs, complex harmonic sensibilities, and a vulnerable yet ultimately powerful brute force. ‘Viva Emptiness’ is so intelligent that it borders on brilliance; it’s a candidate for one the finest rock records of 2003,” [praised the record Thom Jurek, AllMusic – read more here]
KATATONIA had toured for nearly two years after the release of their seventh full-length, 2006's ‘The Great Cold Distance’. Their 2009's album, ‘Night Is The New Day’, which sold over 2,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, peaked at position number 8 on Finnish Albums Chart and at position number 39 on Swedish Albums Chart, was described as “a very beautiful and reflective album” by Phil Freeman, AllMusic (read the rest of his review here).
KATATONIA features: Jonas Renkse – vocals, Anders Nyström – guitar, Daniel Liljekvist – drums, Per Eriksson - guitar (live) and Niklas Sandin - bass (live)