A long four year interval has separated ”The Fall of Hearts” this latest offering of Katatonia from their previous album “Dead End Kings” which was released in 2012. The gradual shift in styles from the doom laiden growling death metal of past years to a more melodic beautifuly structured progressive rock style is now, I would say, complete and fully brought to frutiton on this latest epic “The Fall of Hearts”. Every thing now is fully in balance with the superb dreamy vocals of Jonas Renkse set against his own impeccable keyboard play and the beautiful guitar’s and backing vocals of Anders Nystrom. There is now absolutely no comparison to the original musical style put together by these two founding members, Jonas and Anders, way back in 1991 when they embarked on studio only ‘Doom Metal’ projects. Although lovers of such raw doom metal would disagree. I now believe Katatonia to be up there on the same pedestal as the other leaders of modern progressive rock; bands such as ‘Riverside’, ‘The Flower Kings’, and ‘Haken’ etc.
As you would expect ‘The Fall of Hearts’ is not first time listening and requires several plays to get into and fully appreciate. The drumming is wonderful, such classic time keeping with so many embelishments and multitudes of patterns really energetic and a total delight. The various tracks merge so well together and in doing so provide the listener with a booklike charm which is hard to put down or in this case leave once the music starts to wash over you. As you listen to the music drifting through the various phases of light and shade you become spellbound by the intensisity and the complexity of the subtle arrangements. The lead vocals are just so beautifully arranged with gentle backing harmonies intermittently being introduced to add emphasis to the various musical passages whilst delicate guitar and piano / keyboard runs float over and around the proceedings. But the music is not all about the delicate side of things because there are, amongst the moments of calm many explosions of full on powerful progressive aggression which climax and then fade away back to the sanctity of a peaceful calm until the next shock waves of sound once again hit you full on with resounding power. It is hard for an album of over 67 minutes to be consistently good throughout all of the various tracks but, in the case of this album, not only is the interest level maintained but the quality of musicianship is stunning from start to finish.
Summary: A brilliant and totally incaptivating album of moderm progressive rock full of wonderful musicianship, beautiful vocals and interesting ideas throughout from start to finish.
Artwork: An artistically well designed and beautifully packaged digipack with a nice fully detailed booklet
3. "Old Heart Falls"
8. "Last Song Before the Fade"
10. "The Night Subscriber"
11. "Pale Flag"
Jonas Renkse –Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards.
Anders Nyström- Backing Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Niklas Sandin - Bass
Daniel Moilanen- Drums