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Reach new heights but drifted so far away... - 84%

WitheringToSerenity, March 29th, 2004

Katatonia have steered even further from their metal roots on Last Fair Deal Gone Down. They have experimented further into alternative/hard rock(less metal) with this album. Jonas Renske still maintains powerful emotional vocals but they aren't quite as dark or sorrowful as previous efforts like Dance of December Souls or Discouraged Ones. Katatonia continue to flourish with their stop(soft verse)/start dynamics(heavy chorus) but the lead guitar melodies, dark vocals aren't quite up to the same high standard as previous releases. Keyboards add an extra dimension, atmosphere is still excellent but something is missing at times that prevents Last Fair Deal Gone Down from being an amazing release.

This album starts with Dispossession, best song of the album and one of Katatonia's best songs. Excelllent atmosphere, very good guitar melodies and variety of guitar parts as well as comparable vocal performances(and overall) to older material and the best use of keyboard on this album. Chrome shows how this album differs from older Katatonia albums, still has some great guitar riffs and catchy, fairly dark melodies. Great song but no Dispossession. We Must Bury You is a disappointment and one reason for the lower grade, lyrically and musically not very interesting and quite short. Teargas almost seems optimistic for Katatonia standards. Very catchy awesome track with an intro that is almost reminiscent of U2(better obviously). One of my favorites on the album.

The rest of the album is either solid or very good the rest of the way through. Tonights Music, The Future of Speech being excellent. This album is a very logical step in Katatonia's evolution. I just believed Jonas was at the top of his game with darker Katatonia albums. They have certainly taken steps to evolve their sound and distinguish this from other albums in their catalogue. It is a great release, recommended for anyone who enjoys alternative/hard rock with a dark edge to it. Favorite tracks: Dispossession, Teargas, Tonights Music, The Future of Speech.