Note: The review copy of this CD contains either edited songs or voice-overs. Points will therefore be automatically deducted from the overall rating of the album.
Highly acclaimed Swedish doomsters Katatonia have begot something which could easily be a masterpiece within its genre. I remember that the things I’ve heard from their past efforts didn’t really ignite me, but this is one is simply beautiful.
I’m sure that a lot of Katatonia fans would probably want me beheaded for this, but I think most of “The Great Cold Distance” has a lot of similarities to some of the work Life Of Agony have done. Especially the vocal performance bears resemblances to Keith Caputo’s soulful, melancholic and angst-ridden style without quite the same overdrive. This, I have to note, is very positive in my book.
For the most part, Jonas Renkse’s vocal is like a carpet of sound that pushes the rest of the band into the background, letting everything melt into a tapestry of sound, thus creating an overall image of control and wholeness.
Only through occasional bursts of slightly frantic riffing, e.g. during the songs “Consternation”, “Rusted” and “Increase”, the band really lets it loose and allows the guitars to step in the forefront of everything, otherwise the predominant atmosphere is beautiful, progressive heaviness.
The only track that stands out a bit from the rest is second to last “The Itch” where Renkse’s voice has been thrown through the distortion box, adding an extra level of hardcore energy which surprises you a trifle as listener at this point. Very professionally done, especially because it leads into the seemingly even more restrained melancholy of concluding track “Journey Through Pressure”.
“The Great Cold Distance” is definitely worth checking out.