Katatonia - City Burials review



Reviewer:
8.0

304 users:
7.95
Band: Katatonia
Album: City Burials
Release date: April 2020


01. Heart Set To Divide
02. Behind The Blood
03. Lacquer
04. Rein
05. The Winter Of Our Passing
06. Vanishers
07. City Glaciers
08. Flicker
09. Lachesis
10. Neon Epitaph
11. Untrodden
12. Closing Of The Sky [deluxe limited edition bonus]
13. Fighters [Enter The Hunt cover] [deluxe limited edition bonus]


When I first heard the first single from City Burials, "Lacquer", I actually hoped, no matter how absurd that would be, that the rest of the album would be in that vein. That didn't happen. But surprise, the album is still pretty good.

I really liked Katatonia so much that they used to be in my top 5 bands of all time at one point. A lot of people stopped liking them after Brave Murder Day. A lot more people stopped liking them after The Great Cold Distance. But at the same time I've seen people claim that The Fall Of Hearts is their favorite. Regardless, I'd be hard pressed to find a Katatonia album I didn't like, only ones I revisit less often. But also, I generally don't revisit Katatonia albums, not because I don't like Katatonia, but because I've always just stuck to a few favorites from each record. I saw Katatonia live three times, and my favorite time was the first one, in which they played a career-spanning (except the first two albums obviously and sadly) set. In the following two they played either a The Great Cold Distance or a Night Is The New Day set. And as fun as it was to hear a bunch of songs that barely get played live finally get that treatment again, I still would've preferred to hear some other songs. Plus I bet these folks, if they're gonna tour again, they'd rather do a Dead End Kings anniversary tour than a Brave Murder Day one. I'm gonna keep my derogatory opinion about that to myself.

What Katatonia albums do have for themselves though is that Katatonia is an extremely consistent band. Even if I was kinda bored during those two full album sets, I stuck around. Not just because, well, what else was I gonna do, but because what they were playing felt boring compared to what they could've been playing. Even through some of the filler, I still found Katatonia to be always at least enjoyable. Plus even if after 1998 all of their albums have had a core Katatonia sound, each album has done just enough different to be a distinct experience from all other Katatonia albums. So, obviously, City Burials is no exception. But at this point, and after a hiatus of sorts (in which you know damn well I hoped Nyström would revive Diabolical Masquerade), I was kind of hoping that they would either pursue the progressive leanings of The Fall Of Hearts, or go either further from or closer to metal. Instead, City Lights feels like kind of a middle-of-the-road album. But, like those full album sets, you still stick around.

I probably listened to this one pre-review the most out of all albums I reviewed this year. I have seen a lot of people complain that it still doesn't click with them even after many listens, or that it's not memorable. And it's baffling to me, everything about this album screams memorability and engagement the same way that Katatonia always delivered. And yet, even at my God-knows-how-many listen so far, I still find songs that don't yet feel familiar. So I can guess why people feel that way about the album. Honestly, I don't mind this as much as I thought I would. I obviously loved "Lacquer" on first listen and so far it's still my favorite on the record. I'm starting to finally get the choruses of "City Glaciers" and "Flicker", I love the guest vocals on "Vanishers" even though I admittedly have no idea who Anni Bernhard is, and that "fuck" is "The Winter Of Our Passing" does bring back a bit of Viva Emptiness.

I find myself both wishing I connected to it more, so I could rate it higher, and connecting to it less, so that I could at least claim that they lost it. But each listen is such a blast. It feels like such a lush and elegant album at times that I can't help but still be entranced. The production is amazing, Jonas' voice still sounds amazing (though I can't say the same for the last live performance that I witnessed), the compositions don't feel boring. I did realize something upon having to relisten to this album for the purpose of this review. I wasn't bored with it. I still wouldn't prefer a full performance of it, but I wouldn't mind one either. I would prefer that Katatonia would go in either one of the directions that I mentioned, but I don't mind this either. I would prefer that they finally do a studio version of this. Actually, I do mind that they didn't do that yet. So if they do that, and they finally do the Brave Murder Day anniversary tour with Mikael and all that, they'll be back in my full good graces, as if that keeps them from sleeping at night.


 



Written on 02.05.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 186 users
03.05.2020 - 00:00
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Fair review. It is the standard Katatonia fare, yet it is very enjoyable.

But yeah, the album structure is not quite cliking overall for me. However, I usually start fully enjoying their albums a couple years down the line, so I'm no reference.

And I second the revival wish of Diabolical Masquerade!
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03.05.2020 - 00:11
kb88
All in all fair review BUT - not mentioning the Untrodden? This is easily the best song on this album (o.k., that is subjective), but the guitar solo on Untrodden is maybe one of the best solos in music ever. And I have seen all over the internet that there is many of us who thinks the same. Also the chorus is amazing. It is strange how you have neglected that song in your review But as far as the final rating goes (and pretty much what you have wrote) - I can concure with you and your review
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03.05.2020 - 00:43
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Dream Taster on 03.05.2020 at 00:00

And I second the revival wish of Diabolical Masquerade!

My man!
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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03.05.2020 - 00:44
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by kb88 on 03.05.2020 at 00:11

All in all fair review BUT - not mentioning the Untrodden? This is easily the best song on this album (o.k., that is subjective), but the guitar solo on Untrodden is maybe one of the best solos in music ever. And I have seen all over the internet that there is many of us who thinks the same. Also the chorus is amazing. It is strange how you have neglected that song in your review But as far as the final rating goes (and pretty much what you have wrote) - I can concure with you and your review

I could've mentioned any of their songs, but I mentioned the ones I found most memorable. It's actually in the album's disadvantage that I don't actually remember which one of them is Untrodden.

Lacquer is still the best.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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03.05.2020 - 00:52
Batlord666
Been listening to this a lot. Dance of December Souls is, to me, an absolutely perfect album and Brave Murder Day is damn near close, but I don't mind that they changed their style. Not a lot post BMD has truly grabbed me, but I haven't disliked anything Katatonia has put out. But this album has been stuck in my head all day every day, it just clicks with me.
Also, I agree with you, Lacquer is the best song on the record!
And great review.
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03.05.2020 - 01:23
nikarg
Mod
I like the personal tone of the review. Just like Batlord666 above me, Dance Of December Souls and Brave Murder Day sum up Katatonia for me and I also really liked Discouraged Ones but that's about it. There is nothing I hate about their releases after that, they just don't really click with me and this album is no different. Good for what it is, but what it is does not belong in the stuff I like listening to.
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03.05.2020 - 01:32
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 03.05.2020 at 01:23

I like the personal tone of the review. Just like Batlord666 above me, Dance Of December Souls and Brave Murder Day sum up Katatonia for me and I also really liked Discouraged Ones but that's about it. There is nothing I hate about their releases after that, they just don't really click with me and this album is no different. Good for what it is, but what it is does not belong in the stuff I like listening to.

Dance Of December Souls is def quite unsung compared to Brave Murder Day. I doubt Katatonia will ever make too big of a leap with any of their future albums to really win nay-sayers over.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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03.05.2020 - 04:30
Nacur
Nice review, your comment regarding their live performance made me remember the first time I saw them.
It was in a small, shitty, venue in Brazil (2011 I believe). It was their first time in Brazil and they played songs from most of their albums (including Murder and Without God, ).
It is really hard for me to picture this new album having the strength to be a good live experience (and it has been like this for the last 3 albums at least).
Another comfort zone album. 7/10
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04.05.2020 - 02:32
MetalManic
Katatonia is a bloodline of mine but the last couple of albums have not lingered in my mind, much as you have described. Enjoyable yes, but indeed difficult to decipher the memorable specifics. I am very much looking forward to diving deeper into this one and will likely come to the same conclusions presented in this review. Nothing wrong with that either.

The real surprise is my distraction from this album by the other notable band to release an album on the same day as this one:

Anubis Gate - Covered In Colours
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MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
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04.05.2020 - 02:44
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by MetalManic on 04.05.2020 at 02:32

Katatonia is a bloodline of mine but the last couple of albums have not lingered in my mind, much as you have described. Enjoyable yes, but indeed difficult to decipher the memorable specifics. I am very much looking forward to diving deeper into this one and will likely come to the same conclusions presented in this review. Nothing wrong with that either.

In the meantime since reviewing this, I have tried to listen to more of the songs from the album separately on YouTube instead of streaming the entire album at once. It worked with The Fall Of Hearts. It's starting to work with City Burials too.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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09.05.2020 - 03:12
Sorrow
Written by Dream Taster on 03.05.2020 at 00:00

Fair review. It is the standard Katatonia fare, yet it is very enjoyable.

But yeah, the album structure is not quite cliking overall for me. However, I usually start fully enjoying their albums a couple years down the line, so I'm no reference.

And I second the revival wish of Diabolical Masquerade!

"However, I usually start fully enjoying their albums a couple of years down the line, so I'm no reference." - I thought this is only me!
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22.06.2020 - 23:03
omne metallum
I was hoping the hiatus would have benefitted any future material, this seems to be a continuation of the so, so level of quality they've fell into with NITND.

Agree with you a lot of this isn't memorable overall save a few moments.
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