KATATONIA “Sky Void of Stars”
By Octopi Mills
This album opens with the melancholic swirling things KATATONIA have always been known for and with a darkly energetic sort of rock that hinges nearly on "pop", but done as usual, in a way with some merit and tact for these things darkly. Bleakly as always and as before, when they found this sort of sound and built upon it, the new album shines dimly with the sounds of the grey scale-not nearly black but with all the shades of stormy cloudy shapes. The guitars are interesting enough and there is just enough merit to the formula to not be overwhelmingly commercial. Of course, it always pushes towards the edge of nearly being too poppy but somehow manages to not make me pull out my pistol and fire it into this curious swirly thing.
The album seems to make melancholy somehow fun and fit for the market in a cunning sort of way. I grow paranoid in a slow, subliminal kind manner; and it is this edge- an edge of too wide of a commercial appeal that does this to me as I listen and become fidgety at times. A song called "Birds" humbly makes gentile love with the syrup of something inanely candied- some sort of sugary formula they found long after old phases many often still remember. When this sort of thing works, it does, I would suppose. There are places when the coating of these sweet things inter-marry with things too nicely and safely in places. These candied things are thinly coated and done in such a way that is clever enough.
There is a dystopian feeling here, still somehow modern in this strange and dumb age we are in and this gives it a nearly dangerous sort of means. The music doesn't reach towards a new formula by any means as I mentioned, but it doesn't have to to keep the pace of the other albums that came before. In this way it has a familiar sound that will be welcomed to all those that came this very way before. The band of individuals keep a good legacy within the sound they have and in the image of something that becomes humanly older and newly, and this is something to welcome in the new batch of songs that have been made here.
I am sure this would take a few listens to absorb the overall concept going on within the lyrical content, and this is something I believe will hold true with many good albums. There's not quite another band like KATATONIA and I will say it is a good thing to have them around and still making music in their own particular way. I am sure this will not disappoint their listeners.