There is no need for introductions when it comes to Katatonia. The top band from Sweden returns with its twelfth full-length release, four years after “The Fall Of Hearts”. During my first experience with it, one thing was for sure: it would take a lot of time for me to be able to assimilate it. This is because I think it has a lot of elements from “The Fall…”, which is probably the most difficult album of their history so far.
What makes it more approachable is its duration. While “The Fall…” was one hour and seven minutes long, here we are at fifty minutes (the basic versions, without the bonuses). This is because the songs are shorter in duration, with some being simpler in structure, but without losing the prog character they have adopted recently.
This is clear from the beginning, as the prog “Heart Set To Divide” is followed by the amazing and straightforward “Behind The Blood” (the second single from the album). Up next, a surprise with the title “Lacquer”, a pure ambient song. It would have been more surprising if it hadn’t come out as the first single, but it’s still something we don’t often hear from Katatonia.
As for the rest of the album, it’s another trip to the band’s well-known and special melancholic sound with the unique voice of Jonas Renske being enchanting again. Each song has something different to give, since as I said before the prog elements are intense and the band creates multi-layered compositions. An exception to that is also the straightforward “The Winter Of Our Passing”. Also “Vanishers” with the female vocals and “Lachesis”, two tracks with no electricity and a very strong atmosphere playing the leading role.
Finally, in the various editions that are released we will find two bonus songs. “Closing Of The Sky” and “Fighters”, with the latter being a cover from the relatively unknown Swedish progsters Enter The Hunt. In general, “City Burials” is another great album from Katatonia. It needs time, it needs to be listened multiple times, but I don’t think that it will disappoint the fans of the band.