Mike Portnoy looks like a busy musician. He joined Adrenaline Mob, just right after quitting from Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold, only to jump into another bandwagon after a couple of records. This time, he teamed up with Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr.Big) and Billy Sheehan (Mr.Big, Talas), famous and talented musician with great influence in the rock scene.
After having passed through several evolutions, band member changes – of low importance we have to admit – Katatonia return with a brand new release this year. “Dead End Kings” goes on their journey to their unique approach of the progressive sound, which started three years ago with “Night Is the New Day” a groundbreaking album, that actually changed their sound almost completely, to a new direction. It conveyed a strong approach towards Progressive Metal, and that’s where “Dead End Kings” picks up the torch to continue the journey through the dark.
Soundwise, Katatonia have once more created this beautiful soundscape their music offers with multiple music layers/sound effects/ and production tricks that really can grab your ears and your mind, almost from the first single note ‘till the final silence. Everything, from guitars to drums and from vocals to electronic elements, is really well placed in the mix and makes the result very pleasant to the ears. Their familiar melodies and the main characteristic guitar riffs as well as Renske’s unique singing style all blend in a beautiful grey place.
As for the compositions on this one, there’s a strong emphasis on much calmer and softer songs in contrary to their previous experimentation with their heavy side. Much to my surprise though, the album overall is aimed to please all fans of the band,as this sounds so familiar and trademarked and I’m also almost sure that it will get them to a much wider audience with its softer and “radio friendly” approach.But please do not to be mistaken by the “radio-friendly” term. There’s nothing in here that makes this music, that is so obscure and dark, poppy or sing-along-y…It’s a darker version of “Night is the new Day” with a much more smoothier and slown down approach to songwriting.
“Dead End Kings” is definitely one of the most discussed albums of 2012. Katatonia had a continuous upward with their last 3 albums, but to my ears this is their first downward in years. A very interesting album in its entirety, but after three years in wait, I might consider myself not be “cool” to listen it as the continuation album of their previous work “Night Is the New Day” or maybe I am exagerrating? Who knows…? It’s a good album to test your limits though. Have a listen and deside yourselves.
|Track List||Line Up||01. The Parting
02. The One You Are Looking for is Not Here
04. The Racing Heart
08. Undo You
10. First Prayer
11. Dead Letters
|Jonas Renkse –Vocals
Anders Nyström– Lead Guitar
Daniel Liljekvist – Drums
Niklas Sandin –Bass