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Review of the Album "City Burials" by Swedish Metal Band Katatonia

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The album's cover shows a king trying to put on his crown. City Burials might as well be considered a king size achievement for Katatonia.

The album's cover shows a king trying to put on his crown. City Burials might as well be considered a king size achievement for Katatonia.

Label it is signed to: Peaceville Records

Genre: atmospheric rock/metal

Length: 48:33

Release date: April 24, 2020

Band personnel for City Burials

  • Anders Nystrom: guitars
  • Jonas Renkse: clean vocals, lyrics, and songwriting
  • Roger Ojersson: guitars
  • Daniel Moilanen: drums
  • Niklas Sandin: bass guitars (note: it is easy for some of you to confuse him with Niklas Sundin).

Sweden's Katatonia Enters Into Very Impressive Territory

Sweden’s Katatonia has made it as a group into 2020 and beyond with City Burials, their 11th studio album and such a feat is probably only accomplished by a handful of bands. They now have more studio albums than Metallica which is really saying something!

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Detailed Analysis of the Style and Musical Approach

I get the sense that with this album, they sound kind of like Finland’s Malpractice with that progressive metal feel though having been released in 2020 this album is even more modern than that what that artist offered us then.

Early on listening to this newest offering from one of the longest surviving Swedish metal bands I don’t get the sense that it is a dark, somber kind of album that The Great Cold Distance was. City Burials is an album that is just right to listen to if you tire of the really heavy metal music and even the most avid metal fans will want to take a break from the fast and heavy stuff for a while. This is one of those albums that early on the voice of Jonas Renkse is so clear that you can hear exactly what he is saying. To say that Katatonia’s music is a sort of acquired taste is true to a great extent especially after their first two albums. If you did not like any of their studio albums after 1996, then chances are that you will not like this one as well. But for me listening to City Burials I am really impressed with this latest Katatonia album especially since the band was on a brief hiatus before releasing this one.

Katatonia Has Been Given Much Praise by Online Magazines as Well calls Katatonia a powerhouse of the progressive metallic rock genre. Given the way that the songs click musically on this album I’d be hard pressed to say that these guys aren’t a Swedish metal powerhouse

A Very Good Album That Conveys the Emotions That the Band Was Going Through

Katatonia should also be given credit for not trying to sound like any of the other major Swedish metal bands and overdoing it with electronic sounds. Rather, they have been able to create progressive rock that conveys the emotions and feelings that the band has been going through. Problems can never be undone that’s true but we can use problems to see where to correct our course in life. Are there any major problems or chinks in the armor with regards to City Burials? I certainly didn’t detect any major musical missteps in the first full listen through the album. It takes time to say whether an album by a particular artist is their best one in their career and it may be premature to say that City Burials is the band’s best album overall. Nonetheless, it is a brilliant album all the way through.

About the Songs In City Burials

“Heart Set to Divide” sounds like The West Pole era The Gathering except there is a man performing the vocals instead of a woman. This is in no way meant to directly make a comparison between two very different vocal styles but I get the sense of that soothing nature that Jonas provides us. “Behind the Blood” starts off in such a way that you might think these guys were influenced by Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Malmsteen himself is from Sweden as well so that’s certainly a possibility. Though the melody is more of mid-pace.

In terms of progressive rock albums, this one conveys the emotions and feelings without being too somber so these guys have really nailed it musically and I did say earlier that it would be premature to consider this the band’s best album but as I dive deeper into the songs, I’m tempted to say that it may be their best work to date, 30 years into their career. “Lachesis” is a short, soft song that portrays a sense of loss for the person as he longs for the return of his love one. The song may also be that the person laments the cards that they were dealt in life. If a band releases their best work later in their career as opposed to earlier it may be because they have matured enough on a musical level. Having said all that the album does not get a 100 points but it gets something in the 90s maybe even a 93 or a 94 point score.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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