Death/doom pioneers Katatonia have brought upon us an EP release of rarities and b-sides, titled ‘Kocytean’, stamped with their trademark melancholia and eerie yet beautiful melodies. Katatonia have been on the alternative music scene for a long time, putting out a host of critically acclaimed records and refining their sound.
‘Kocytean’ seems to have tracks that are in the same vein as their 2013 acoustic reimagining of ‘Dead End Kings’, ‘Dethroned & Uncrowned’. The entire EP, as with much of the band’s work, exudes a mellow ambience; the slow, methodical pace creating a tumultuous tide of emotion.
Stemming from vocalist Jonas Renske‘s inability to perform harsher death metal vocals, the majority of their music makes use of his impressive, if somewhat mournful clean vocals, and this release is no different. Each track is both haunting and impassioned, laden with gravitas and often particularly poignant.
‘Ashen’ diverges from this somewhat, reminding the listener that Katatonia are in fact a metal band, with a burst of thunderous drum work and a hefty chorus riff that you’ll struggle not to bang your head along to. On the other end of the scale is ‘The Act Of Darkening’, a true acoustic ballad that’s complete with accompanying bongo drums and a rousing crescendo. A must if you favour your songs to be sombre and contemplative.
Despite these tracks being taken from a whole host of Katatonia‘s previous albums, each one maintains the same spark of brilliance. Not all of the tracks are doom and gloom, but it’s evident that a great deal of consideration goes into producing these highly intelligent and stirring songs. Whether you’re doing some soul searching or need a thought-provoking soundtrack to a gloomy winter day, ‘Kocytean’ is a good place to start.
Written by Ben Hammond