katatonia_dethronedKATATONIA – ‘Dethroned & Uncrowned’
When these Swedish masters of sorrowful metal released Dead End Kings last year to critical acclaim, they arrived at a point of collective supremacy through years of tireless exactness.  Probably their most exceptional release to date, the culmination of soaring choruses and thunderous metal marked a step towards a more progressive sound, making for a hugely gratifying listening experience.  Dethroned & Uncrowned allows the band to continue the realignment, stripping the album down to acoustics, sweeping symphonies and Jonas Renske’s uncomplicated and effortless vocals.  To effectively re-work a hugely successful album can either be seen as indulgent or opportunistic, revealing a new side to a band that serves to create further divide amongst their hoards of followers.  Happily this is not like Apocalyptica mis-interpreting Metallica.  The enduring lyricism and sombre tones are present and correct, in fact, the bones laid bare succeed in creating new moods and textures that explore hidden expanses of subconsciousness.  As though they were written with an acoustic album in mind, opener ‘The Parting’ sounds particularly convincing, as if it was intended to be heard in both forms; but then that’s the power of the track.  Dense riffs make way for haunting piano and compelling acoustics through ‘The Racing Heart’, ‘Leech’ and the poignancy of ‘Ambitions’.  Like the soundtrack to a cold moon-lit winters night, witnessing a new dawn, the way in here is uncomplicated and hugely rewarding if you allow it.  As with its antecendent, Dethroned & Uncrowned deserves to be an essential part of your musical future.  (8)



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