Katatonia
Dead End Kings


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
August 27th, 2012 | 814 replies | 61,282 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dead End Kings is the culmination of Katatonia as they are in their post-death/doom metal form

When Katatonia first radically shifted their sound toward their current motif, Dead End Kings was the album in the back of their minds that represented what their new-found style was capable of. Of course that is only figurative since it has been fourteen years since their stylistic shift materialized in Discouraged Ones, but it is easy to see just how Dead End Kings is the very essence of what Katatonia were aiming for back then. It took them almost a decade and a half and six full-length albums, but here and now we have everything that represents what Katatonia are pressed onto an album. What Viva Emptiness lacked in maturity, The Great Cold Distance lacked in emotion, Night is the New Day lacked in substance, Dead End Kings corrects. Due to the fact that all previous Katatonia albums in this vein lacked some element or another, it was hard to catch a glimpse of the full picture of what potential really lived underneath the dust, but now that Dead End Kings blows that away it is easy to see the glow that is finally allowed to reflect the sun.

Now that the sublime production values have interesting material to highlight and accent, the radiance of each individual instrument is allowed to come forth. The layers of instruments peel back to reveal keyboards and clean guitar ringing out at the close of “The Racing Heart”, but often swell as the crushing chords and flattening drums dominate tracks like “Dead Letters”. In typical Katatonia fashion, the heaviness is contrasted by quite a few mellow breaks that reveal the real heart of Dead End Kings. Indeed, much of the grandeur of the album lies in small moments such as the guitar solo found in “Leech” or Silje Wergeland’s wonderful backing vocals in “The One You Are Looking For is not Here” – it is in these moments where the songwriting skill comes forth, in moments where simply shoehorning in chords won’t do. The fact that the album is so slowly paced yet remains so engaging is a testament to not only the skill inherent in Katatonia’s members but also the maturity they’ve gathered from a career of releasing records in this style. It is crucial to remember that Dead End Kings is a product of years of other albums, each of which has part of its DNA reflected back here.

When the only real complaint regarding the album is its general lack of aesthetic variation – which with a Katatonia album isn’t the least bit surprising – it is easy to regard it as a massive success. Despite the similarity in mood, pace, delivery, and atmosphere of the album’s eleven tracks, Dead End Kings proves to be a record without any remnant of filler. Each track provides something its predecessor did not, from the shining vocal performance of “The Racing Heart” to fleeting keys of “Undo You” to the heaviness of “Dead Letters”. I can’t remember enjoying a Katatonia album this much since I heard Brave Murder Day, and it is easy to name Dead End Kings as the best album they have released since their change in style shortly thereafter. It seeps emotional sincerity from every single crevice, and has a replay value that is shockingly high. This is far from the most complex album in the metal world, but the fact that it is so good and so memorable proves that sometimes being extremely simple is the best route to take. There is nothing quite like hearing a band find exactly what they were looking for, but Dead End Kings is Katatonia finding themselves.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I am still surprised at how much I like this album.

conesmoke
August 26th 2012



5172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review, Katatonia finding themselves eh?

i'll get this in due course. liking the album art.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It really is. Every album before this has been missing something in terms of songwriting, but you can gather what they were trying to go for despite the fact that the puzzle clearly wasn't complete. Here everything is present.

conesmoke
August 26th 2012



5172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like albums with a high replay value, provided i don't go overboard.

FictionalFlames
August 26th 2012



1516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aoty

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's in my top 3 at the moment, will probably bump it to a 4.5 sometime.

KILL
August 26th 2012



70543 Comments


i'll listen but clockwork angels is better fact so

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

well nothing will change that for you so

KILL
August 26th 2012



70543 Comments


boring band agreed

nah brave murder day is cool but most of the newer stuff is zzz but yea i'll DL it seein as i'm gonna be staff soon gota keep up with the new releases

tarkus
August 26th 2012



5560 Comments


agreed except wont jam

FictionalFlames
August 26th 2012



1516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"It's in my top 3 at the moment, will probably bump it to a 4.5 sometime."

use to have this at a 4, but after the second or third listen on loop really clicked for me. This, Firewind, Rush, possibly Enslaved, and something else will take the top 5 for me.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012



18005 Comments


dude pos!

Digging: Autechre - Draft 7.30

KILL
August 26th 2012



70543 Comments


wtf 5

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

most of the newer stuff is zzz


tbh i kind of agree with you with the exception of this

tarkus
August 26th 2012



5560 Comments


cant fathom a katatonia 5 post bmd

GiaNXGX
August 26th 2012



4867 Comments


Why do you post if the album isn't out yet?


Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

We were sent the promo by the label.

Titan
August 26th 2012



4799 Comments


Not sure why people like this........lacks depth........along with every other album they have

KILL
August 26th 2012



70543 Comments


.........

GiaNXGX
August 26th 2012



4867 Comments


Do I have to wait till Tuesday to post mine then?



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