Last Fair Deal Gone Down (Peaceville)
by Martin Popoff
The result of all sorts of recording difficulties and saddled with an awkward album title, Katatonia wears those Opeth comparisons more deliberately than ever before. Perhaps even going beyond with bits of electronica, lots of, well, hard alternative Goth, fey, clean romantic vocals from Renske, and production values that are a tad raw for this panorama of morose musicks – in particular, too much too loud open high-hat from new drummer Daniel Liljekvist. Indeed, the band admits recent influence from A Perfect Circle and Tool, and one can hear that in the oddly grinding grungy universal hard rock swirling in and out of view. Arrangements are actually quite simple (save for the fancy pants digi-pak packaging), basically big chord guitars, depressive bass, bloody live drums, and then Renske’s ethereal, beyond the grave vocal mists. Man, if this album just parachuted into your life with no context, you’d barely call it a metal album. It’s basically the anthemic metal moments from Opeth and the mellow strains thereof as well, with none of the vicious death-ness, true, focused progressive Goth, a big blasting churn occasionally like modern Sentenced or Load-era Metallica, visited often by contemplative string-thinged sadness. And the lyrics? Man, light’s out.
(PO Box 29459 Philadelphia, PA 19125)