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Clasping Tightly to the Crown - 71%

Daru_Jericho, October 30th, 2013

Sweden’s Katatonia seem to move from strength-to-strength, failing to deliver a poor album. Last year’s ‘Dead End Kings’ was emotionally loaded with more dimensions than the usual Katatonia release. ‘Dethroned and Uncrowned’ is an acoustic reworking of ‘Dead End Kings’, not the most obvious choice for an acoustic Katatonia album but certainly one worth listening to.

Although ‘Dethroned and Uncrowned’ is a solid release, it is not because of the acoustic aspect but because of the strength of the original material. One of the greatest differences between rock/metal songs being converted to acoustic is the change in mood and sound. However, the ambience remains the same on both Katatonia releases. The alternations are minimal, showcasing Katatonia’s great attention to detail. The reworking of the synthesizer on ‘The Parting’ is a curious yet applaudable change; the acoustic guitar meanderings on ‘Undo You’ resonate with Scandinavian neofolk. Percussion is largely absent, which adds a more isolating and lonely feel to the music.

The mood remains static throughout the entire album and Jonas Renkse’s vocals do not change at all, which compounds the stagnation of the atmosphere. The lack of heavy elements makes the original softer passages less underscored and this juxtaposition is a key part of Katatonia’s compositions. Overall, ‘Dethroned and Uncrowned’ is a worthy release but certainly not essential listening and does not overshadow the original material.

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