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An interesting review of The Great Cold Distance

Discussion in 'Katatonia' started by batmura, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. batmura

    batmura Sea of Tranquility

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    Guys, what do you think of this review of The Great Cold Distance? It's quite different from most other reviews I've seen with interesting descriptions.

    Streamlining their approach to a conventional form of elegiac despondency, Katatonia's Night is the New Day essentially continues the stylistic agenda of 2006's The Great Cold Distance, with the same flawless studio production but with less variety in arrangements, tempo, and expressive tone. It is a more consistent effort in terms of its specific mood centering, which involves a concentrated regularity in the application of its defining elemental components, as well as a more repetitive concept in songwriting. This is more a refinement of previous ideas than an exploration of new discoveries within the framework of those ideas. The trademark melancholic sound is intact, but this album maintains a more reflective quality essentially absent of their familiar desperate anxiety. It exudes a depressive aura of darkened scenes in a subdued and brooding sound that has long served as their defining characteristic, though the distress is noticeably muted this time around, restraining the emotional fluctuation for a more contemplative treatment of withdrawal and hopelessness.

    "The dark will rise
    Abandon your freedom
    Give up the right to find the true self
    Forsake your own reasons"

    The songs are unified by an elusive sense of distance which is limited in its vastness by over-reliance on the exhausted loud/quiet dynamic of which Katatonia's variations on pop-style songwriting have increasingly assimilated as a formula. There are no real standout tracks, and though a surrounding melody navigates each song with fluid motion and their penchant for strong hooks remains, songs as a whole are less distinctive than before. A few songs feature vague and ephemeral progressive rock-style deviations, most of which seem oddly disconnected from the conceptual source and used merely for a symbol of thematic variation. This particular feature will not silence the largely lazy and superficial Opeth comparisons, particularly descriptive however of "Idle Blood", an acoustic-based window-gazer of a song which sounds like a lost track from Damnation.

    "the unforgiving void
    the forge in which our values burn
    the resting leech
    our thinning minds
    in my abstinence I turn to nothing"

    To communicate his pessimistic and dejected perspectives on identity and experience, Jonas Renkse uses a nearly unchanging tone of reflective resignation in his disconsolate melodic singing voice without any real dynamic expressive changes. The singing is well-delivered and competently performed, but strangely vacant emotionally. This is not to say he is unengaged with the emotional fabric of the song, but that fabric, compartmentalized in experiential fragments into deeply considered events defined by emotional responses, is detached from any kind of discernable passionate urgency in a relinquished state of distant consideration. This holds true for the guitarwork as well, which is as expressive and mood-reflective as always, with frequent use of atmospheric resonance and clean melodic lines over faintly ominous riffs, which are too often mired in the rigid rhythmic thickness of modern style metalcore riffing to produce a sublime effect to enhance the dramatic substance of the song's concept. Like the album as a whole, the guitarwork is consistent to a fault, and the riffs and melodies are not as compelling as previous material. Keyboards provide subtle shading of atmospheric illuminations and vaguely psychedelic accents, effectively arranged according to rhythmic and melodic shapes from guitar. The music moves at an almost unwavering slow to mid-tempo, with very precise and tight drumming in a conventional rhythmic construction, never really increasing or decreasing its motion in any substantial alteration of movement. When they demonstrated more intensity of atmospheric presence and melodic lucidity, as on 1998's Discouraged Ones, this ordinary form of rhythm was supportive and natural in its minimalist framework, but here, when the melodic ideas and atmospheric sense are less profound, this kind of rhythmic repetition is a hindrance to the general sense of motion as related to concept.

    "make a brand new vow
    in the heat of the evening
    the darkness swarms
    i was nothing, ever"

    A growing profile and increased touring, along with the advancing obligations of adult life, have resulted in a less prolific Katatonia, with Night is the New Day only their second full-length release in nearly seven years. One might also suggest a particular decrease in creative inspiration during this phase of their career. This is a darkly pleasant and easily engaging album boasting a sound that will appeal to fans of the band's work over the past decade or so, but it ultimately lacks a sense of creative purpose and motivation, and for that reason will prove to be less enduring. They do not sound like a band that is still striving to reach the essence of their objective, but rather resting on past developments as if the essence has already been achieved and they keep playing because it is what they do. The album never becomes profound or even mildly penetrating, with its continued investigation of sadness and disconnection functioning more as late-night background music for surrendering the dream to another time.
     
  2. FJChaos

    FJChaos Señor Member

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    It's pretty weird considering his copy of The Great Cold Distance has all of the same songs and titles as Night Is The New Day ;)
     
  3. Katatonic1

    Katatonic1 Requiem

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    Isn't this a review of Night is the new day! why do you say the great cold distance?
     
  4. DanLights

    DanLights Santa Hat Forever

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    I disagree with the whole review, I think cold distance is much more "consistent" and less varied, Night has much more noticeable different influences on each song, and seems a bit more dynamic in terms of variety. Plus, keyboards are NOT subtle, keyboards are subtle on TGCD, but on Night they are given MUCH more Space to breath above, between and under the guitars, yet due to the arrangements and the mix they never really overpower anything or sound like a lead instrument, they are much more present and add much more to the songs than on TGCD. And yeah, thread title is wrong.
     

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