Melancholic metal masters Katatonia will release their upcoming studio album, “Sky Void of Stars”, on January 20, 2023, via Napalm Records. The new opus by Jonas Renkse, Anders Nyström and their musical companions might speak of a sky void of stars, but brings a sound full of beauty, sparkling with emotions, which flicker like candlelight.
Album opener “Austerity” shines with an inspired guitar sound and irregular rhythms characteristic of Katatonia’s prog tendencies. “Colossal Shade” follows with cool riffs and monotonous vocals, which portray the lyrical theme of the song perfectly, an anthem to the abandonment of the self, diving into darkness, no matter the consequences. “Opaline” continues on the avenue of melancholy, a beautiful ode to the emptiness of separation.
“Birds” is a high energy song, with the chorus echoing a beautiful guitar melody; easily one of my favourite tracks on the whole album. “Drab Moon” brings the tone down once more, a beautiful ballad of woe, and some slight heaviness that kicks in every now and then. “Author” features some of the best bass work on “Sky Void of Stars”, and a catchy riff about a minute into the song, which has perfect, very emotional vocals.
“Impermanence” is a poetic song, reflecting its thematic through sound: sad, melancholy and aesthetically pleasing, with beautiful guitar work and vocals. “Sclera” follows, a slow electronic song, like a quiet interlude amid the stormy skies with no stars.
“Atrium” opens with a quiet guitar riff, which gives way to equally hushed vocals; the song builds up to a more classical Katatonia sound, which guarantees this to be a fan-favourite. “No Beacon To Illuminate Our Fall” fools us with a light beginning, but is actually the heaviest song on the album, as the catchy and proggy section hits. Closing track “Absconder” (Bonus Track) has it all: synth work, heaviness, catchy guitar riffs, and a nice groove, all it takes to end the album on a high note, albeit with a touch of gloom.
In all its darkness, “Sky Void of Stars” is yet another very good album from Katatonia’s camp. The band’s sound has truly evolved throughout their history, from the early death/doom years in the 1990s, to their days of progressive glory. It is an album with a personality (a dark one), and a characteristic sound, a real representative of one of the best music acts out of Sweden. For those who enjoy a bit of melancholy with a touch of heaviness, this one is definitely worth the listen.
2. Colossal Shade
5. Drab Moon
7. Impermanence (feat. Joel Ekelöf)
10. No Beacon To Illuminate Our Fall
11. Absconder (Bonus Track)