KATATONIA — Dance of December Souls

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KATATONIA - Dance of December Souls cover
3.99 | 27 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1993


1. Seven Dreaming Souls (intro) (0:45)
2. Gateways of Bereavement (8:15)
3. In Silence Enshrined (6:30)
4. Without God (6:51)
5. Elohim Meth (1:42)
6. Velvet Thorns (of Drynwhyl) (13:56)
7. Tomb of Insomnia (13:09)
8. Dancing December (2:18)

Total Time: 53:31


Blackheim - Guitars
Lord J. Renkse - Vocals & Drums
Israphel Wing - Bass

All keyboards by Day DiSyraah (Dan Swanö)

About this release

Recorded in Unisound Studios 04-09 April, 1993
Produced by Dan Swanö & Katatonia
Mixed & engineered by Dan Swanö
Mastered at Cutting Room by Peter Dahl

All music by Blackheim.
All lyrics by Lord J. Renkse.
All arrangements by Blackheim and Lord J. Renske
Cover design by Tom Martinsen, Cover Me
Photos by Lennart Kaltea, Tom Martinsen


Dance Of December Souls re-issued as a special digipack by Peaceville in 2007,
including JHVA ELOHIM METH demo as bonus. Both are remastered and include liner
notes from Chris Bruni - May 2007 and also slightly different cover art and a
few rare photos in booklet.

Re-issued by Mystic Empire records (Russia) as a limited edition fold-out
digipak with a different cover art (http://www.mystic-empire.ru/c/m030.jpg) with
"Jhva Elohim Meth" as a bonus under exclusive license from the band in 2006.

Reissued by Black Lodge Records with a new cover and new style logo, however
Katatonia issued a statement saying, "...we do not support this re-issue and
take complete distance from its existence."

2LP reissue released by Svart Records in March 2010. Includes the Jhva Elohim
Meth demo as bonus.

Thanks to Prog Geo, UMUR, TheHeavyMetalCat, adg211288 for the updates


More places to buy metal & KATATONIA music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


Specialists/collaborators reviews

Katatonia are one of those death-doom bands who, like Anathema and Paradise Lost, more or less walked away from the death-doom subgenre after the early phases of their career. (In particular, in playing an alternative-progressive metal style influenced by Pink Floyd, they seem to have been riding the Anathema bandwagon just a wee bit.)

Listening to Dance of December Souls, I find this a crying shame, because back in the day Katatonia seem to have really nailed the death-doom style and given their own spin to it, especially when it comes to the inclusion of light progressive elements here and there.

In particular, there's some delicate keyboard work from special guest Dan Swanö that on the one hand plays a similar role to the violin in early My Dying Bride in terms of providing a beautiful, haunting counterpoint to the more gruesome and abrasive aspects of their sound, but which inevitably gives the album its own particular texture. On top of that and some of the gothic influences that more or less all death-doom bands seem to slip in sooner or later, there's also some influence that seeps in here and there from early black metal, creating perhaps the richest bouquet of carefully chosen and arranged styles offered in death-doom at the time.

As a result, whilst latter-day Katatonia is certainly not my cup of tea, I'm going to have to make a point of exploring their early discography, because clearly there's some gems here that I've been overlooking.
"Dance of December Souls" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish doom/death metal act Katatonia. The album was originally released through No Fashion Records in December 1993 but has seen several reissues since. "Dance of December Souls" was recorded at Dan Swanö´s Unisound Studios and produced by Dan Swanö and Katatonia. Swanö also plays keyboards on the album.

The music on the album is doom/death metal with a blackened edge. The latter musical influence is mostly heard in the vocals which are sometimes snarling raspy type vocals rather than deep growling vocals. The album features a dark and doom laden atmosphere which suits the predominantly slow and heavy tracks well. The use of gloomy lead guitar parts and atmospheric keyboards add another defining dimension to the music.

The album features five "regular" doom/death metal tracks which are between 6 and (just shy of) 14 minutes long and three shorter intro/outro/interludes. There isn´t much variation between tracks, and that´s the major issue with the album. But on the other hand Katatonia had a unique sound already this early on, and that deserves praise. Despite the slightly one-dimensional nature of the music, the album is entertaining all the way through the 53:31 minutes long playing time.

The musicianship leaves a bit to be desired though, which unfortunately is made further clear because of the sound production. The drum sound and especially how they are played sound a bit amaturish and awkward to my ears. It´s obvious why it was one of the best decisions of Katatonia´s career to relieve Jonas Renkse from his drumming duties to fully concentrate on his singing. The weak bass sound should also be mentioned as a slight sound production issue.

"Dance of December Souls" is widely considered a "classic" doom/death metal album, and considering it was released in 1993 I understand why that is. Especially their atmospheric and blackened take on the genre was something new and a bit different from the their contemporaries (artists like Paradise Lost, Anathema, and My Dying Bride). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Members reviews

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  • Caio2112
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • 666sharon666
  • adg211288
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • ricardus
  • Necrotica
  • Jan
  • Primeval Scum
  • contempt80
  • jsorigar
  • dev_lexthorm
  • jose carlos
  • bartosso
  • stefanbedna
  • Anster
  • (De)progressive
  • bratus
  • aecht
  • Wilytank
  • kalacho
  • sepozzsla
  • sauromat
  • Sleeper
  • Nonconformist

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