Katatonia are influential. Make no mistake about it, this is an act that knows all the right moves and has been a leading entity throughout the years despite their change in sound and musical contemplation. The sheer emotion that circumvents their music is undeniable and with 2009’s Night is the New Day, Katatonia shatters the mold to expose what is arguably their best release to date.
The band has always leaned heavily towards an accessible, dare I say mainstream, sound that sits very well with both extreme metal fans and the rock world. Night is the New Day displays an evenly balanced mixture of heaviness, forward thinking, and melancholy, with some slight electronic moments. The sound on this record is mature and complete with a towering gray aura.
“Forsaker,” opens this CD with an excellent single that bears a dark, heavy atmosphere, accompanied by the bands signature somber verses. The drums hit hard through this song with some scattered timing that brandishes Katatonia’s will to experiment.
“The Longest Year,” brings the despondency. There are moments on this record that are not for the weak hearted. The beginning minute of this song is something I have rewound over and over again. It is beautiful. Along with the angelic guitar playing Jonas Renskse’s voice is a huge part of why Katatonia sound so deep.
From the beginning, Katatonia and Opeth have always played off each other and have had similarities along the way within their music. The association is even more prominent on Night is the New Day (“Idle Blood,” “Departer”) in my opinion. As Opeth progressed with their sound over the years it seems Katatonia has been on the same path. The progressive nature of bands like Porcupine Tree, have become staples in both Opeth and Katatonia’s music and this record is sprinkled throughout with these similarities.
The CD ends with “Departer,” an unbelievably dejected piece that comes close to bringing tears. Krister Linder (Enter the Hunt) gives a beautiful performance as a guest vocalist on the second verse of the song and helps make this an excellent closer. Progressive tinges of Opeth and Porcupine Tree are evident halfway through this song as it breaks for an instrumental interlude.
A book could be written (literally) about Katatonia’s career and achievements. They have stood directly in the face of metal and forced an unconventional sound that has sparked numerous outgrowths over the years. They have never really disappointed and if they keep this momentum up, it is only a matter of time before a larger audience finds out about one of metals best kept secrets. If you are a fan of the band then this CD is a no-brainer. If you have never heard Katatonia before this is an excellent place to start. Night is the New Day will be high upon many year end lists including my own.[Visit the band's website]