Katatonia
The Great Cold Distance


4.0
excellent

Review

by Serapheus USER (9 Reviews)
March 19th, 2006 | 230 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


The Great Cold Distance is the latest release from the Swedish quintet Katatonia, there 7th in fact. Beginning in 1991 Katatonia has ventured rather far from their death/doom metal roots with their most recent releases bordering on alternative rock. The Great Cold Distance on the surface seems like a rehash of the highly vocal driven Viva Emptiness but look deeper and it is another step for the band. Members of Katatonia have worked in the Swedish supergroup Bloodbath, a band focusing on the old-school Swedish death metal sound.

Katatonia on this album are:
Jonas Renkse - Vocals
Anders Nystrom - Guitar, backing vocals
Fredrik Norrman - Guitar
Mattias Norrman - Bass
Daniel Liljekvist - Drums
Mixed by Jens Borgen (who produced Ghost Reveries by Opeth and Nightmares Made Flesh by Bloodbath)

The first feature which stuck me was the excellent production on this album. Jonas Renkse's vocals are still very melancholy and haunting but they don't overpower everything else like Viva Emptiness. In fact they sound more emotional and more depressing than ever which I see pleasing fans of Tool and the Deftones as well as the typical doomheads. Unlike the previous album the songs are more instrumentally driven like Last Fair Deal Down or Tonight's Decision and are unlike Viva Emptiness where the vocals drowned out the instruments and tended to solely drive the songs.

The opening track Leaders features Renkse crooning 'Come here, I split my heart in two but you don't have it in you' and this is followed by Anders Nystrom screaming 'Do you, do you... DO YOU!!!!!!'. Screams haven't been a main part of Katatonia's sound since he apparently lost his ability to scream early in Katatonia's career (this is why Mikael Akerfeldt recorded vocals on Brave Murder Day and Sounds of Decay). Vocal effects are used to add a tad of diversity e.g. after the extremely-headbangable behemoth riff which opens Consternation his vocals are treated with a dissonant and muddy effect which work superbly in creating an atmosphere of misery. The Itch utilises an unusual vocal effect similar to Mr Akerfeldt's favourite telephone effect and the song also features an amazing scream by Nystrom which lasts for under 20 seconds. Anders Nystrom also did backing a few screams on Viva Emptiness but they are more powerful and add alot to this new release even though they are mixed in a way that doesn't overpower the other instruments.

The guitars and bass sound thicker and denser than ever, while still allowing the drums to sound crisp and clean. The riffs on this album are more powerful and dynamic than ever and the lighter guitar parts are more ambient and sweet. Anders "Blakkheim" Nystrom & Fredrik Norrman are the guitarists for Katatonia. Instead of displaying overly technical wankery and riffage, they create impenetrable soundscapes, beautiful interludes and they give Katatonia its driving power. Three minutes into July contains some tight chuggy riffs working together with nice syncopated drums - very reminiscent of the outro in the song Deliverance by Opeth. The lead guitar parts are mixed in a way that they flow seamlessly on top of the rhythm parts unlike their previous works where the lead tends to have a fair amount of spotlight, this use of layers gives the album a very blended natural guitar sound.

The bass is handled by Mattias "Kryptan" Norrman and remains very audible and defined in the mix. He works well with the guitarists to make their riffs pound even lower into the ground and displays a very smooth relaxed style when complementing the occasional soft sections notably in the opening of the album's single My Twin. Daniel Liljekvist does an amazing job on The Great Cold Distance. Now Katatonia's drumming has never really amazed me, Dan Swano's drumming on Discouraged Ones is horrific. There's the distinctive tribal Katatonia sound but Daniel manages to build on this and create a nice feel to this album, he adds delicious fills and appealing cymbal work to the environment of Katatonia's sound. The drumming in In The White has a very Toolesque feel and is one of the stronger songs of the album.

The Great Cold Distance is an almost flawless album, the only negatives is that they could've done more and expanded their sound farther from the Viva Emptiness and Last Fair Deal Gone Down blueprints. It's a far heavier step than Viva Emptiness (which I found almost too soft) and it doesn't seem to have the vulgar swearing which I found stood out alot in Viva Emptiness. Each song is great and this album is a masterwork of consistency which Katatonia seem to excel at. A few songs stand-out for me mainly because of wicked riffs and cool things.

Recommended songs:
Consternation
Leaders
July
In The White


Pros:
-Impeccable production
-Excellent instrumentation
-Perfect doomy atmosphere
-Excellent vocals from Renkse
-Nystrom's Growls
-Some amazing riffs

Cons
-Not for purist metalheads
-They could've gone farther with their music
-Very depressing, may upset happy people
-My comp doesn't read the CD, so I can't put it on my mp3 player. ARGHHH!!


Serapheus



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user ratings (957)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Vanwarp (4.5)
While the album does contain some incoherent lyrical moments, there’s an incredible amount of flue...

Jorn van Schaïk (4.5)
Katatonia's latest platter of doom and gloom is as convincing as it ever is. They may prefer evoluti...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Serapheus
March 19th 2006


251 Comments


Feel free to leave comments, I know there must be sum Katatonia fans out there.

Blindguardian
March 19th 2006


186 Comments


I really can't wait for this since I heard that it was a bit heavier than their past few releases, I've always liked Katatonia anyway, I just find it amusing that they share some musicians with an old school death band like Bloodbath, while putting out albums in a completely different style, shows their diversity anyway

nice review

Blindguardian
March 19th 2006


186 Comments


sorry about the double post, my browsers been belligerant lately, ummm well yeahThis Message Edited On 03.19.06

pattern_recognition
March 19th 2006


950 Comments


My Twin is damn good. Can't wait to absorb the whole thing and decide if it tops their last album.
Great review Serapheus...small point: it's Viva Emptiness, not Viva La Emptiness.
Unless Bam is in Katatonia...
Anyway, like I said, great job on the review, sorry for nit picking like that.

Confessed2005
March 19th 2006


3314 Comments


'-Very depressing, may upset happy people'

Haha that made me laugh. Good review; I am a big fan of quite a few of the bands you listed at the bottom so I may check these guys out.

Kage
March 19th 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love Viva Emptiness to death. I can't wait to hear this.

Good review, you've convinced me to get the album.

Strange, though. Says it was released March 13th, but I was in a record store a couple days ago and they didn't have it, and they carry Katatonia. I hope I can easily find this.This Message Edited On 03.19.06

rockhut
March 19th 2006


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

when I first heared the leaked album,I was totally fascinated.Leaders is great. yes,this is the very album I'd like to buy this year.This Message Edited On 03.19.06

Serapheus
March 19th 2006


251 Comments


There was a sticker on my copy saying it came with a Katatonia poster and postcards, but there was no poster or POSTCARDS!!!!!!This Message Edited On 03.19.06

Diabulus in musica
March 20th 2006


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome album....first time i heard of this guys and they kick asssssssss

whatduffhuck7
March 20th 2006


163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the recomended bands are more like katatonia old stuff. there is hardly any scream/growl in viva and this one. i like the clean vox better. although older stuff still good music.

Diabulus in musica
March 23rd 2006


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what a radical change they made for this album.....in terms of the vocals......i prefer the way he sings in this album, it reminds me of tool, somehow

pattern_recognition
March 24th 2006


950 Comments


He sang like this on Viva Emptiness. This really is Viva Emptiness Pt.2. That's a good thing, though.
And yeah, there's definitely a moody tool thing going on. Another good thing.

sj_2150
March 31st 2006


251 Comments


i heard my twin and it seemed very standard to me, ive still yet to listen to it though

ShatteredSoul
March 31st 2006


110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It took awhile for this album to open for me. In the end its at least as enjoyable as Viva Emptiness. Deliberation is so damn good.

What I love in katatonia is absolutely those Renkse's clean vocals!

Natural_Disaster
March 31st 2006


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Just to clear up something ... this is not "Viva Emptiness Pt.2". VE was (for me) a incredible depressing album. TGCD focusmore on making a cold atmosphere, and the depression isnt so strong as in VE.

Renskes voice has changed too, just listen to the bridge in "A Premonition" and I think you would get it...


This Message Edited On 03.31.06

notuem aeturnus
April 1st 2006


16 Comments


great review dude i heard them on myspace and loved them i just want to know were the hell you go the cd lol

pattern_recognition
April 1st 2006


950 Comments


This is a sweet cd. Check out either this or Viva Emptiness and you won't be dissapointed.

sj_2150
April 2nd 2006


251 Comments


Awesome album. i was hesitant to buy it because im not all familiar with Katatonia but i heard it and they won me over

Kage
April 16th 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I finally got this, and it is great. I was not dissapointed at all, although my only complaint is that it didn't do anything that substantially surprised me.
Still one great album, that amazing atmosphere is there, and a lot of the heavy riffs are better than ever. Easily one of my favorites of this year, and Katatonia is slowly becoming one of my favorite bands.

metaldude437
April 16th 2006


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is awesome, i never really heard of this band before, but as soon as i heard this album i loved it, in fact im listening to leaders right now hahahaha......well its a shame that i cant buy this album, it hasnt hit the stores over here



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