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Katatonia: The great cold distance

08/08/07  ||  The Duff

I’ve liked Katatonia for about as much time as I’ve dug the hell out of Opeth (about 8 years now), considering both bands seem to be very chummy, and conversations about one rarely omit mention of the other. That said, I don’t think they are exceptional by a long stretch; I’ve always kept my distance from their earlier, more aggressive albums, choosing rather to invest in the band’s later outputs – can’t say that I think the musicians are exceptionally talented, but they do perform what’s required of them and manage to weave relatively dark music as a backdrop to the band’s one truly successful component in the art of invoking bleak, doomy atmospheres – Jonas Renkse.

It’s as if the guy was fired from work one day without severance pay, went down to the car-lot to drive home only to suffer rape at the hands of many extremely well-hung guys who simply didn’t like the look of him, got to his house to find it burned down to the ground, with his model wife, her sexy and open-minded/willing to experiment twin sister, and their eight kids reduced to ashes, just before receiving notification of his being drafted into the military and the subsequent demand of his country that he be shipped off to fuck knows where to get both of his nuts shot off, and has been singing about it ever since returning to his native soil. I’ve been told by many that “Life is full of darkness”, but never to such a degree that I’ve wanted to chew off my own cock and choke on it until death takes hold; enter Mr. Jonas Renkse, in all his melancholy glory. The manner in which he says the word “increase” in the track of the same name is as if he’s saying it in the sentence “The cancer cells in your body are on the increase” or “I’m going to increase the amount of electrical current I’m administering to your testicles unless you tell me where the color red first originated”… well, you get the drift; the guy is depressing.

All this to say that I haven’t really got much else to add about “The Great Cold Distance” (or Katatonia, for that matter). I get the impression that the songwriting isn’t as solid as on “Viva Emptiness” (let alone “Last Fair Deal…”) – I reckon that it draws parallel with “Tonight’s Decision”, and yet that album doesn’t do much for me (some truly excellent tracks, but too much filler too – I understand I’m in the minority here), so maybe my opinion doesn’t mean jack-shit to you. What this does have over other releases is that, although to some of you this may not be “metal” enough, the band seems to have really found its sound – every instrument is played its worth to maximum effect (even though, as with all Katatonia releases, Renkse is the band’s most striking aspect), with nothing overdone/given too much of a predominant place.

So that about sums it up; more accessible than ever, Katatonia still embody the essence of desolation and all that is grey and continue to fuel the desire to insert dynamite up my cock and end it all – my cock isn’t all too impressive, so just getting the one stick up there would be a very messy and unnecessarily painful experience.

8 testicles covered in sugar-frosting out of 10.

  • Information
  • Released: 2006
  • Label: Peaceville
  • Website:
  • Band
  • Jonas Renkse: vocals
  • Anders Nystrom: guitars
  • Fredrik Norrman: guitars
  • Mattias Norrman: bass
  • Daniel Liljekvist: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Leaders
  • 02. Deliberation
  • 03. Soil’s Song
  • 04. My Twin
  • 05. Consternation
  • 06. Follower
  • 07. Rusted
  • 08. Increase
  • 09. July
  • 10. In the White
  • 11. Itch
  • 12. Journey Through Pressure