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Sad but hopeful - 83%

NocturneFreeze, October 28th, 2009

Katatonia released another album with their signature sound. Some sort of mix between doom rock and very melodic heavy metal. As long as it works, I'm fine with it, and this was the last album where it still worked. During the recording of this record, the masses didn't dive right in the skulls of the musicians. There are no mallcore intuitions yet, and the overall laidback style works very well. Many of the songs are very slow, very melodic and very sorrowful. Honestly, they fell like a less progressive Opeth. You know what, it actually sounds pretty much like Damnation, only with distortion.

The album starts with Dispossession, one of the strongest songs Katatonia ever wrote. Not quite the artistic and emotional brilliance of Strained and For my Demons, but what doom metal song is... Anyway, it's nothing different from Tonight's Decision, which is actually a good thing. No experimantion failures such as the later records, or the unconforming style of the first few records. Katatonia influenced themselves by the right album. Dispossession has a cool style of chord changing. Original, but not too intruiging. It's an easy listen with easy melodies, but the sinergy is top-notch. Melodies that pretty much flow over the chords. Such quality for pretty much 5 minutes is hard to find, but look no further, Katatonia had it back then.

The next 5 songs (with the exception of We Must Bury you) are alike of that description. Each of their own quality. Chrome is slightly inferior, mainly because of the groovecore riffs, but it's still awesome. Teargas is even better than Dispossession, carying the same idea even further down the path of sorrow. I Transpire has the cool rhythm, and Tonight's Music has the cool chorus. We Must Bury you is the odd one out of the first six tracks because of the electronic drums. Still, it's quite a good song, not too special, but not too shabby.

After the six tracks it all gets downhill though. Clean Today is a forebode to what came on their latest two releases. Boring mallcore, nothing emotional. Passing Birds has the atonal chords that just don't fit, don't try to make a Black Session, you just can't. Then there is Don't Tell a Soul which is just uninteresting all the way. Luckily there are The Future of Speech, slightly comparable to the first 5 doomrock top tracks. Sweet Nurse with the infectious chorus and the egyptian-scale driven verses. It's okay, not very emotional driving, just passing the class with a 7.

Last Fair Deal Gone down is the logical transition from the artistic jewel that was Tonight's Decision to the mainstream driven Viva Emptiness. Not too sorrowful, emotional and mystique but also not plodding and heavy-for-the-sake-of-being-heavy. A very pleasent logical transition.