Katatonia
Mnemosynean


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dewinged STAFF
October 14th, 2021 | 29 replies


Release Date: 10/01/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A journey through 30 years of memories.

Once upon a time, somewhere in the Scandinavian sea, a certain tour manager had the bright idea to ship a bunch of metal bands on a cruise filled with alcohol to the brim. Needless to say, this eventful adventure wouldn’t be remembered for the music, but for the good times that were had, and the bonds that were strengthened. At the time, none of them couldn't have imagined that one of those bands were about to sail further, much further than an ethanol fueled vessel would ever do. History wanted that one of those bands, one hailing from Sweden, and waving a strange name like Katatonia, would become one of this reviewer's favorite acts, partly thanks to a long-term relationship going full meltdown, while the Swedes orchestrated it with a record aptly titled The Great Cold Distance.

The ascending raven in the cover of this compilation is no coincidence either. The band has seen a steady rise from their first disastrous live performances to the impeccable shows they are capable today, with their music style traversing different phases and identities. Jonas and the rest of the band have always professed their love and respect for metal gods Judas Priest, which explains the shout out to the Screaming for Vengeance cover found in the design for this compilation, although the cover of "Night Comes Down" included on this package belongs to Judas Priest's 1984's Defenders of the Faith, and not to the winged LP previously mentioned. Little details and turbulent lore aside, it's fair to say that Mnemosynean doesn't contain anything that was out of reach before. Every track included here has been released previously, either as part of The Black Sessions, which their label, Peaceville, released in 2005, or as bonus tracks on any of the anniversary editions, reissues, and EPs released by the label during all these years.

But the fact is that Katatonia has turned 30 this year since their inception, and that calls for a celebration. The package itself is beautifully designed, with one edition containing three white vinyl in a gatefold LP or a double CD digipack format for those who embrace the digital age. The track list is generous too, with a total of 27 cuts that tell the story of the band backwards, starting with "Vakaren" and "Sestere", which belong to The Fall of Hearts sessions, and ending with the ten minute epic "Scarlet Heavens", from a reissue in 2007 of their third full length Discouraged Ones, and a few remixes and reinterpretations of some of their classics like "My Twin", "Day and Then the Shade" or "Idle Blood" by artists like Frank Default or Krister Linder.

It is true that unreleased material would have been ideal to spice things up, but the way these songs have been packed and presented makes for a good excuse for fans of the lads from Stockholm and vinyl collectors alike to justify the shopping. I personally had forgot about most of the material included here, and it's been a pleasure getting re-acquainted with it, especially with those songs that belong to the mid-late era, namely "Second", "The Act of Darkening", from the Dead End Kings period, "Ashen" and "Sold Heart", which were recorded during the Night Is The New Day studio sessions and last but not least, "Displaced" and "Dissolving Bonds", which were to be found in a vynil reissue of The Great Cold Distance. Their early and distinct phase is also amply represented by tracks like "Fractured" and "No Devotion", from their fast romance with goth which resulted in Tonight's Decision or "Sulfur" and "March 4", which were part of the Teargas EP and contemporary to their acclaimed Last Fair Deal Gone Down, the album where their style began to shape up as we know today. Sadly, there are no tracks pertaining to their early 90s doom era.

If the release of City Burials last year signified the end of their ominous hiatus with a fantastic record, Mnemosynean serves as a reminder of the constant evolution of a truly special gathering of musicians that still have much to offer, so raise your cups, ladies and gentlemen, here's to 30 more!




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user ratings (21)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2021


26484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this band, rating is whatever, every song is amazing, but there's nothing new so make that what you will. All I can say is that if you're a fan, this is a good time.



It's all here: https://peaceville.bandcamp.com/album/mnemosynean



Katatonios forever.

Digging: Ethereal Shroud - Trisagion

quetzal
October 14th 2021


890 Comments


spotted a typo ;)

brave yester days has some of these tracks, particularly quiet world and scarlet heavens, don't think this one has the other two tracks from the saw you drown ep (saw you drown and nerve) but those are both on brave yester days

sadly brave yesterdays is not on spotify, my favorite katatonia rarity is that track off the WAR compilation, the first version of 12, Black Erotica

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2021


26484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"spotted a typo ;)"



There's probably more than one.



It's on purpose though, a new mini game I created to see who reads reviews, you passed the test, congratulations!

parksungjoon
October 14th 2021


38581 Comments


god iktf

Pikazilla
October 14th 2021


19898 Comments


I actually own all of these bonus tracks on their respective releases, but I purchased this regardless because it's fucking Katatonia

Egarran
October 14th 2021


25574 Comments


Wonderful review, dewi.

I saw the onf.

Digging: Kauan - Sorni Nai

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2021


26484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"because it's fucking Katatonia"



My man.



And thanks goat, the onf has been onf'd too.





Gyromania
October 14th 2021


33311 Comments


Their last 3 albums were wet farts so I might avoid this

heck
October 14th 2021


6243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the material on this is so good, but at least on the CD version the sound is god-awful. I don't know what they did, but compare the version of Ashen here to the one from the tour edition of Night Is the New Day - it sounds like a 480p YouTube rip in comparison.

Digging: Converge - Bloodmoon: I

Alucard125
October 14th 2021


654 Comments


Didn't know this was coming out. Great review, love Katatonia. Managed to catch them at both The Great Cold Distance & NITND 10th Anniversary shows.

I think that "Second" and "The Act of Darkening" were a part of the Dead End Kings sessions though?

Digging: Bohren und der Club of Gore - Patchouli Blue

jfromnj
October 14th 2021


70 Comments


Unfurl for the win.

heck
October 14th 2021


6243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah dewi got that wrong, those two were DEK era and Ashen and Sold Heart were NITND

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2021


9330 Comments


Oddly enough, this sounds better than anything they've released in the '10s

Digging: Lock Up - The Dregs of Hades

Imperial
October 14th 2021


1932 Comments


Just letting you know that it's a Raven/Crow on the album cover.

Egarran
October 14th 2021


25574 Comments


These days we prefer corvid.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2021


26484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I think that "Second" and "The Act of Darkening" were a part of the Dead End Kings sessions though? "



"Just letting you know that it's a Raven/Crow on the album cover. "



I'm dumb. Edits incoming.





Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2021


15805 Comments


Can’t wait to delete Hawks’ menposting on this thread when he returns in about 4 years

Digging: Obscura - A Valediction

Pikazilla
October 14th 2021


19898 Comments


does that mean that others may menpost as much as they want

heck
October 14th 2021


6243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mnem

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2021


15805 Comments


No.

Also no.



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