Those of you acquainted with Ulver are familiar with the term metamorphosis. An alteration occurred; not of emotion, but execution. And from this modulation came two things: the inevitable lashback of obstinate fans and, much more importantly, a relentless current charged with visions that became much more than just music. This is the development Katatonia undertook after Brave Murder Day, and with it came the deserting fans, as well as one thousand open windows. This is arguably their most important stepping stone, for without it they would not be around today.
Say goodbye to the harmonized-guitar-driven songs and death growls, what we have here is something much more straightforward. Anders had to start writing with more traditional structures in order to start this process to the next step, immediately evident with Nerve
and Saw You Drown
, which are also featured on the following LP, Discouraged Ones. These two songs, while standard in organization, still retain the signature dark tones the band had, and adding this to the radical sound shift borned an all new sound. They managed to make simple rock songs extremely bleak and thick, and I stress thick because of the guitar tone. When hearing Jonas’ free fall into harmonic vocals, it’s evident his vocals are immature, however they still fit well, for his tone sounds absolutely defeated.
The second two songs on the EP are black sheep; they sound nothing like what the band has done or will do. Quiet World
follows two chord progressions throughout the song under mid-tempo with a dirty clean guitar. The atmosphere the song gives off shows the band venturing into the most depressing soundscapes they effortlessly muster. Scarlet Heavens
, on the other hand, is 100% epic goth rock; eleven minutes of heavy delay, low vocals, up-tempo drums, chugging bass lines, and single note synths all due to a free day to mess around in Dan Swano’s studio.
Whether you like their new sound or not, you can admire Katatonia for their consistency. Even for one of their adolescent records, they proved they are able to brush off their shoulders to try something completely new with above average results. As per usual, this isn’t for anyone who dislikes the merciless sorrow the band expresses, yet is an interesting product that Katatonia fans should look into if at all interested with the chronology of their evolution, or even just the second pair of exclusive songs. However, there is only one thing this band wants you to remember…
“I sold my song, my mouth was sown
It’s coming undone, and that’s why I sold out”