KATATONIA — The Fall Of Hearts

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KATATONIA - The Fall Of Hearts cover
4.26 | 21 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2016

Tracklist


1. Takeover (7:09)
2. Serein (4:46)
3. Old Heart Falls (4:22)
4. Decima (4:46)
5. Sanction (5:07)
6. Residual (6:54)
7. Serac (7:25)
8. Last Song Before the Fade (5:01)
9. Shifts (4:54)
10. The Night Subscriber (6:10)
11. Pale Flag (4:23)
12. Passer (6:25)

Total Time 67:22

Line-up/Musicians


- Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström / Bass, Keyboards, Guitars, Programming, Vocals (backing)
- Jonas Renkse / Drums, Vocals (lead), Guitars, Keyboards, Programming
- Niklas "Nille" Sandin / Bass
- Daniel Moilanen / Drums
- Roger Öjersson / Guitars

About this release

Release date: May 20th, 2016
Label: Peaceville Records

Recorded at Studio Gröndahl and Tri-lamb Studio, both in Stockholm.
Mixed and mastered at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro.

Official lyric videos:
— "Serein"
— "Old Heart Falls"

Deluxe 12” Hardbook featuring:
- 30+ page artwork book, with alternative album artwork from Travis Smith.
- CD The Fall Of Hearts 12 original album tracks plus 2 bonus tracks ‘Sistere’ & ‘Vakaren’.
- DVD-V The Fall Of Hearts 12 original tracks hi resolution stereo & 5.1 audio (DTS 96/24 5.1 & 96/24 Stereo LPCM) mixed by Bruce Soord.
- Special Double 10" vinyl edition of The Fall Of Hearts 12 original tracks plus bonus track ‘Wide Awake In Quietus’ (with MP3 download code) featuring guest guitarist Paradise Lost’s Gregor Mackintosh.

Thanks to diamondblack for the addition and UMUR, necrotica, adg211288 for the updates

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KATATONIA THE FALL OF HEARTS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Necrotica
A common thread you wind up finding in every Katatonia album is that every one of them exhibits a different kind of melancholy. Each expression of that one emotion changes with each stylistic shift or altered lyrical approach, but either way, the melancholy still returns in some way. Perhaps it comes in the form of desperate wails and screams over crushing doom-laden riffs (Dance of December Souls). Maybe it can be found in gritty imagery involving the ills of crime and street life (Viva Emptiness). Alternately, the looming darkness of orchestral strings and mellotrons could seal the deal (Dead End Kings). But when it comes to The Fall of Hearts, the dreary atmosphere is expressed somewhat… differently. It might come down to a lack of metal influences this time around, but there’s an unusually surreal and dreamlike touch to the music. The songs are sad, yes, but also given a sort of levity and weightlessness by the shimmering clean guitars and light piano melodies that coil around the increasingly progressive rhythms. Jonas Renkse has channeled his sorrows through more passionate vocal passages (just listen to the chorus of “Last Song Before the Fade”!) while the music surrounding him has become more abstract compared to past efforts.

Really, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not like this progressive influence is just out of the blue; the last few records, especially Dead End Kings, were already hinting at this bold new direction. But I suppose the fascinating thing about The Fall of Hearts is just how well they pulled off those influences. Instead of the crunchy, churning alternative metal riffs that dominated a good chunk of the band’s career, there’s now more respect and care given to the atmosphere than ever before. If you ever hear a downtuned metal riff (“Takeover,” “Passer,” “Serac,” and “Last Song Before the Fade” still bring the heaviness to a degree), you can be sure that a beautiful slow passage will be just around the corner to counteract the aggression. “Serac,” for instance, brings a fresh melding of progressive metal and soft rock that’s not too dissimilar to Opeth’s best works from the early 2000s (minus the growls, of course). Then you have “Passer,” which kicks off with a shredding guitar solo over a rapid-fire galloping snare rhythm before it almost immediately dies down to give us one of the most emotionally potent verses the band have ever concocted. It’s not that the band have lost their edge, but that they simply reserved it for the best moments this time around. And really, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that Katatonia didn’t really subscribe to a set songwriting formula this time around. The arrangements are quite labyrinthine and unpredictable compared to what we’re used to from these guys, and the opening 7-minute track “Takeover” is an immediate example of this. This mini-epic takes you in so many directions in such little time, from a beautiful dreamlike intro/refrain to a rousing metal section to a deeply orchestral chorus to a stunning piano break. Add to that a killer guitar solo from newcomer Roger Ojersson on top of that, and you’ve got one of the best openers in recent memory.

In fact, let’s talk about those newcomers for a second. Guitarist Roger Ojersson and drummer Daniel Moilanen were a huge asset to the sound The Fall of Hearts would ultimately adopt and cultivate, as their technical proficiency allowed the band to work outside of their typical framework a bit more. The solos in “Takeover,” “Passer,” and especially the harmonized portion of “Serac” are incredible ways to build on songwriting that already takes pride in taking listeners on a real journey. Meanwhile, Daniel absolutely kills on the drumkit. His grasp of varying time signatures and subtle dynamics is just impeccable, and he can shift styles with ease to fit each mood perfectly. As for the songwriting, however, you may notice in the credits that it’s all Jonas Renkse and Anders Nystrom as usual. Maybe that’s the most fascinating thing about The Fall of Hearts, really. Just the fact that these two had it in them to make this record all along, but they simply needed the right circumstances and band members to make it happen. If you want a good marker of just how much they’ve evolved as songwriters, just take into account the fact that “Pale Flag” and “Shifts” are minimalist folk rock ballads with almost none of the band’s typical sonic trademarks present, and yet they’re not out of place in the slightest. But then again, nothing on The Fall of Hearts is out of place; it’s just the sound of a fully-evolved, fully-realized Katatonia that was always trying to break free from the mire of comfortable familiarity.
UMUR
"The Fall Of Hearts" is the 11th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in May 2016. While it´s been 3 years since the release of "Dethroned & Uncrowned (2013)", Katatonia have been quite busy, releasing both the "Kocytean (2014)" compilation and the "Sanctitude (2015)" live album. In addition to that Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström and Jonas Renkse have also been busy recording (the "Grand Morbid Funeral (2014)" album) and touring with their death metal project Bloodbath. There have been two lineup changes since the release of "Sanctitude (2015)" as guitarist Per "Sodo" Eriksson has been replaced by Roger Öjersson and drummer Daniel Liljekvist has been replaced by Daniel Moilanen. Both are fairly seasoned musicians on the Swedish metal scene having performed with acts like Tiamat and Runemagick.

Stylistically "The Fall Of Hearts" continues the dark, atmospheric, and melancholic rock/metal style of the last couple of albums by the band, but brings on a more progressive twist (some tracks are also slightly longer than usual for Katatonia). Artists like Porcupine Tree and Tool come to mind at various points throughout the album, but Katatonia have a distinct sound, which is especially due to Jonas Renkse´s soft emotive vocals, but also the often layered and intricate compositions.

The tracks are predominantly slow- to mid-paced and focus on melancholic atmospheres, but occasionally heavier riff sections appear, and with the addition of Moilanen to the lineup, some parts even feature double bass drumming. So there are definitely some really heavy parts featured on the album (like the closing sections of opening track "Takeover", "The Night Subscriber" or "Sanction"), although they do not represent the dominant musical style. Some tracks feature relatively simple structures, while others are more complex. In addition to guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, the music also features keyboards, which often lift the music to epic heights, but the keyboards are also often used as atmospheric backing. In addition to the above mentioned, highlights include "Decima", "Serac", "Passer", and "Shifts", but all material on the album is well written and memorable.

At least three additional tracks were recorded during the sessions in "Vakaren", "Sistere", and "Wide Awake In Quietus". The latter features a guest performance by Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh. "Vakaren" is a bit special too as it features Swedish language lyrics. As far as I know it´s the first time Renkse sings in his native language but it definitely shouldn´t be his last. "Vakaren" is a beautiful song and the Swedish language lyrics work perfectly.

The sound production is clear, powerful, and warm, suiting the material perfectly. At 67:22 minutes (the standard version without bonus tracks) "The Fall Of Hearts" is a pretty long album, and maybe also slightly too long, but on the other hand it´s hard to pick any of the 12 tracks that I would leave off the album, and compared to the last couple of albums by the band, "The Fall Of Hearts" is also a much more diverse release, which ensures that it´s entertaining all the way through the playing time. So upon conclusion it´s another high quality release by Katatonia. It´s also a much needed development from the artistic stagnation, which had begun to creep in on the last couple of albums, although the overall atmosphere of the the album isn´t that different from the dark melancholic atmospheres of the predecessors. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

Members reviews

m3g52
Katatonia, a band that has courageously never stopped evolving their sound. In his previous album ( "Dethroned and Uncrowned") they turned towards progressive metal, using synthesizers and instruments that manage to create an oppressive atmosphere dismal. In this new album, they show that they are comfortable in that way to convey the way they feel the music, achieving a very interesting album, much more nostalgic. Open the album with a theme that is a sample of what we will hear, "Takeover", which rises in a crescendo, begins soft and then hardens and a dark and dreary atmosphere becomes. It has two symphonic songs, "Old Falls Hearts" and "The Night Subscriber" with a symphonic metal play very well made, where the guitars manage to break this general oppressive layer. But if we were adapting ourselves to this new way to give us his music, appear "Pale Flag" and "Passer" where there are so many effects, more direct, where the main voice is not adorned with vocals, drums and guitar mark harshly back just a little to his old vein. Clearly, this shift towards the metal prog them feel perfect.

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