I thought I could keep it cool until I see Katatonia next week but no, I am losing my mind.. I am super excited to see them again (thanks to Vera Music Productions) and I can’t stop fantasizing about hearing some of my favourite songs live. To keep my sanity, I decided to create my own dream setlist.
But before we get there, let me briefly explain why I am madly in love with this band..
Well to start with, they are a very confident and adventurous band who is brave enough to go after some unorthodox melodies, to incorporate new ideas into their established sound, and not afraid to reinvent themselves over and over again.
Although they seemingly follow a verse-chorus song structure, nothing is predictable in their music. They incorporate ever-shifting dynamics and interesting musical ideas. They never let anything get monotonous-sounding but rather are exceptionally innovative in their creations.
It’s also amazing that despite all the crazy dynamics and subtle twists and turns, not even one section feels out of place or gets incohesive.
I think no one would dare put them in one genre as they have flirted with lots different styles and genres over the years but the one thing that never changed was the sheer quality of the writing…. and the undeniable complexity of their music.
As you might have figured I don’t have enough good things to say about them, Katatonia is unique as a band and I don’t see any peers or obvious comparisons in the scene.
Let’s face it: we have so many choices today.. and we have only so much time.. So I choose.. I find it hard to stick to a band unless they incorporate some special influence or element into their sound that sets them apart from the rest of the pack. And Katatonia does exactly that.
We are talking about some unmatchable talents here.
Which brings me to the wonderful duo… the duo that crafted their own body of sound and stuck to it. While they constantly flirt between styles, their sound is truly theirs.
With the power of just two, Katatonia created some of the most powerful, moving, and soul-bounding music. The amount of awesomeness they have produced is unmatched.
Should I mention how amazing it is for music like this to have a great, clear production?
So the duo. First, let me thank all the musicians who have contributed to Katatonia’s near perfect creations and I promise to talk about each one of them in another article (I should!) but this one will be mainly about Jonas Renkse & Anders Nyström.
So, where do I begin with an artist like Anders Nyström?
He’s an amazing songwriter and a great guitarist. His guitar is so intricate and addictive while his solos are so relevant.
We can definitely talk about a virtuosity here, but one that is always in the service of the song.
His dissonant lead guitar fills, not-very-conventional riffs and distorted parts create insanely good counterparts to Jonas Renkse’s mellow singing and achieve near perfection.
I have always thought that he is the most “progressive” guy in the band, too as he is the composer of the proggiest songs on their catalogue until The Fall of Hearts… Well on The Fall of Hearts the whole band became more progressive.
Aaaand Jonas Renkse
I have mad respect for this musician. He is easily one of my all-time favourite vocalists.
He uses his voice very much like an instrument and manages to create a brilliant atmosphere over top of some really heavy riffs. His voice alone makes KATATONIA very melodic, even when everything else is so heavy and dissonant. His soft, soothing voice complements the music perfectly. He is the definition of pure raw talent!
Oh, and the power behind his singing! Especially in the recent years .. his singing has a wonderful ease and smoothness to it, too. Nothing is forced. My God!
How can he make his singing so fragile yet so commanding?!
Now, on to the list for the concert:
Gentle warning: It’s my dream list and I have drooled all over it. So you know.
Picking out the songs is not an easy job when you are madly in love with a band.. Anyways, let us start!
I am opening my dream concert with the closer of their latest release: Passer, as this song starts out amazingly well.
That super modern tone of the guitar and the immediate shredding is killing me, followed by the sinister descending synth line right before we hear the low register delivery of Jonas. Creepy! He sings flat-out amazing on this song – well on the whole album for that matter ! – but particularly well on this song.
It’s so awesome! Catches me, engages me, scratches my itch for progressive metal.. moves me in ways that music possibly can.
Each time I hear the lines
Let’s put everything underground now.
Your void eyes!
How long until you come back around?
I get shivers down my spine. It’s like Jonas gives more to these lines. He sounds so haunting and manages to make us feel the emotions he’s singing.
It’s the right mood to start a Katatonia concert with – so cold and bitter! With all the instrumental dynamics, Passer would start things off with such a bold manner and breathe out energy to the house.
Did I mention the crazy tone they’re using!!!??? It’s mental. If you’re mad about it too, I suggest you check out Simon Godfrey’s obscure project SHINEBACK . Here is my review of his brilliant debut album RISE UP FORGOTTEN, RETURN DESTROYED. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a similar tone somewhere in there…
Ghost of the Sun
Now let’s get even more energized, shall we?
This song has been stuck in my head ever since I heard it. It has some great riffage and super catchy vocal lines. The raw, heavy sound works really well over Renkse’s characteristic vocals.
The highlight for me would definitely be the chorus where Jonas sings so passionately, but this is not one of those songs where you have to wait for the chorus to come back. The verse is so lively and charismatic, too. Both are very well done and engaging.
They almost never kill the tempo (until it’s necessary), which gives the song a driving pace.
I really like everything about this song!
It’s easy to take things for granted if you don’t pay attention to the layers they added masterfully.
Case in point, where this song really shines is where Anders kicks in with his angry guitars and low, guttural growls, and Daniel Liljekvist with his frantic drums and create together this dark and creepy atmosphere. Dang!
Maybe it’s a little early for this song but man, can I wait???!
Oh my God, this song! It possesses ethereal depth and drips vulnerability . It is so dramatic and powerful, yet so deep and zen. The great atmosphere created by the keys is mesmerising … Anders Nyström what are you doing to us? Jonas’ soft, serene voice really does the job of complimenting the music perfectly. He is making us feel this song running through our veins. Dang man, I feel this song! It is an otherworldly experience that tests me in different ways.
Breathing lifeless, we are not afraid to die
Breath in life less, you’re afraid not to live
These lines are a snapshot of my attitude in life..
There’s a lot of music that moves me in some way, and there’s far fewer that is all too relatable. Maybe that’s why it really hits me hard – I identify with this song.
The sound is so thick on this one!!! Layer over layer over layer.. Like a chocolate cake! Yummmm!
When I first heard it, it left my jaw hanging. Daniel L. brings in a lot of sickness both with the soulful drumming and the amazing screams he provides, where he keeps going “in you in you” in the background and then he gives his all to it.. Or was it Anders? Anyways, this song always leaves me completely mesmerized.
Future of Speech
This song is a great fusion of metal with more poppy and accessible elements. I love it to bits! The vocal harmonization in the chorus is definitely the highlight of the song. It’s very soaring and powerful. While the chorus has an accessible rock feel to it, some of the riffs and sections are pretty damn heavy.
The melodies are incredibly memorable, and the choice of vocal effects fits in perfectly and add more charisma to the overall sound. The instrumentation as a whole is solid.
The tune is downright catchy!
Ok… Let’s go full-on prog for a while, shall we?
An absolute beast of a song, start to finish. It has a perfect balance of heaviness, spacey-ness and progginess; it also contains some of the best, most creative instrumentation I’ve heard . It gets better every time I listen to it, too. Sometimes it’s the heavy and driving opening riff, sometimes it’s that thick guitar tone, sometimes it’s the vocals, sometimes it’s the soulful guitar work in the calmer sections and sometimes it’s Daniel Moilanen’s top-notch approach to his drum kit. It amazes me every time – and I’d say it’s pretty much flawless!
This is an absolutely great song which showcases some super creative musical techniques, while still being catchy and memorable. Jonas’ voice is super impressive on this one. It transitions in an epic fashion as the vocals carry along the song through each part. It’s got a sweet groove that provides a solid foundation for an impeccable song. Riffs are both many and great.
it’s epic and awesome. It impresses me in ways that I can’t describe. In all honesty, I adore this song.
If they play this song, I will just stop, do nothing and watch them play and lose myself when I hear that out-of-this world chord progression. Period.
Let me just say that Daniel Moilanen and Roger Öjersson are great additions to the band and I can’t wait to see them on stage in a few days.
Love this one to bits. It goes through a lot of different sections while still feeling very cohesive. I don’t want to repeat myself but I love how they (in this song and in many others) bring in the calm, peaceful clean sections, create an excellent, spacey atmosphere and then go back to the metal elements, distorted guitars and give the sound a bit of extra power when it needs it.
Besides being a sweet, touching and heartfelt song written about a burst of resentment, isolation, and anger, it’s a just plain brilliant rock song and is oddly danceable in a sense. One of the rare uplifting chord progressions from the band.
Bombastically awesome all the way through. There a lot of things that make this song a winner for me; the groove, the energy, the complexity, the power, and the emotion that come through all instruments and vocals. The drumming is incredibly tasteful with the carefully calculated motives and transitions. The slow-down section is spicy! Growls add so much power to it. Every time I listen to it, my voice gets lower. God help me at the concert!
Thematically the song is torture – my knuckles turn white just listening to it – but musically, it’s a feast, especially the drums and the creepy synths. I’d describe it as peacefulness surrounded by horror, if that means anything to you at all.
It’s epic. It’s pure genius! It’s unforgettable. It hits on all marks. It’s all things classic Katatonia – the crazy traffic, catchy riffs; modern, original and new-sounding music. All instrumentation is spot-on, with clever transitions; fantastic guitar melodies, riffs and solos; some great, driving drumming; outstanding basslines by Niklas Sandin; all accompanied by incredible trademark Jonas Renkse vocals.
I try so hard not to die when he sings:
Take your well deserved step
I’ll become your eyes
You have no other
We have to walk along this wire
Trust the one that never trusted you
For me this goes down in history along with the other brilliant Katatonia classics.
This song is incredible from start to finish. It’s dark, atmospheric, brooding and so damn MODERN! Beautifully, tastefully minimalistic.
This song garners so much love and affection and I won’t even..
It deserves all the praise it’s gotten all these years.
What’s happening after the 4.00 minute mark??? It gets even crazier after 4.30. My God!!!
Seriosuly guys, it’s sick! Would love to see that being executed on stage.
Burn The Rememberence
I’ve never seen a wah pedal being used so creatively and beautifully!
Forsaker, I Break, Wait Outside, New Night, Right Into the Bliss
I was one of the lucky ones when they played an astonishing set at Koko, London in 2011. Oh man, what an evening! I remember what I felt the moment they started to play; I was stunned! The sound quality was superb, which is exactly what you need at a Katatonia concert.
So I’m crossing my fingers for Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Anyways these were the songs that really amazed me that night as they were more pronounced in a way and took my appreciation to a whole new level… closely followed by Clean Today, The Promise of Deceit and The Longest Year.
Since we all know that this would be an endless list I will stop here and just list other songs that I will not object to being played 😛
The One You’re Looking For Is Not Here, Onward into Battle, Dead Letters, Lethean, Brave (a girl can dream, right?), Increase, The Itch, Hypnone, Rusted, Last Song Before The Fade, Soil’s Song, Teargas, For My Demons, Omerta, Liberation, I am Nothing…
Thank you Katatonia. Just thank you!
Can’t wait to see you both in Ankara and İstanbul…oh, and in Krakow at Mystic Festival in June. If you would have released the new album by then, who knows? Maybe we can even squeeze in an interview 😊