Katatonia Dethroned and Uncrowned

Katatonia Dethroned and Uncrowned
8
Their 2012 effort, Dead End Kings, is an album rich in textures and atmospheres, and it's those nuances Swedes Katatonia decided to explore on their latest release. Dethroned and Uncrowned isn't Katatonia unplugged — more like defanged, featuring the full track listing from that earlier recording, subtracting only the metal factor. The most obvious result is in the way Jonas Renkse's vocals shift even more to the forefront, supported by intertwining harmonies and orchestration of varying types. Upon the first several listens, if you're familiar with Dead End Kings, it's impossible not to be haunted by what's been removed — to not hear in your mind the dramatic entrance of distorted guitars or pounding drums. That makes it difficult, initially, to take Dethroned and Uncrowned on its own terms and appreciate it for what it is: a laidback experiment exploring what lies under, and between, Katatonia's metallic layers. What's most surprising, however, is how relatively non-melancholic the record is — how bright its aura. It languorously croons, whirls and flows; it's an album of contemplation, even introspection, but never despair. Or maybe it's just that, even stripped of aggression, this is so quintessentially Katatonia that a little luscious gloom is exactly the right effect. (Kscope)